The NFL draft is in the books and…. now we wait. The NFL schedule being revealed on May 11 is the next big block of the off-season. After the schedule is released, we will get to be prepared for training camp and preseason. And then finally, the NFL season gets kicked off.
In between the draft and Week 1, football fans can approach the gap in two ways. Option 1: Fans can reflect the period as the movie Cast Away, where one waits until the action comes to them. Then there’s option 2: it can be full plunge like Mad Maxx and improving our circumstances for the new 18 week long season. Let’s agree that option 2 is the right path to take — it tends to be more fun in the offseason, but more importantly it leads to more satisfaction in the season.
Now that we’re on the same page, let’s dive into an outlook that will help us get ahead in often underlooked areas. This prioritized area of improvement lies with finding the right sleeper tight ends, which is ultimately a huge edge in being consistent and improving our championship chances. Without further ado, I’m going to unveil a few TEs to target in redraft.
Jared Cook, The late career riser moves from a very dim vertical offense with Drew Brees, who eked out the lowest YAC since Brett Favre, moves to the west coast to play with Justin Herbert and his utterly explosive attack. Cook will fill in the shoes of the often injured Hunter Henry.
Cook has recorded 22 touchdowns in the past three years with the Saints (at least six each year). His explosiveness hasn’t slowed down a bit and it’s a huge part of his success. Cook has averaged at least 13 yards per catch in each of the past three seasons.
Durability was Cook’s achilles heel in the early part of his tenure, but the latter part of his resume tells a different tale. Cook has only missed three games in the last three seasons. Compared to the former Chargers TE, Henry has missed six games in the last two years.
The Chargers didn’t add a third wideout to the receiving corps, nor did they bring in another TE to compete with Cook. Expect the fine wine prospect to be heavily involved and fulfill his one year – 4.5 million dollar deal.
It may seem like Noah Fant is often talked about. Yet, it hasn’t been for the right seasons. Fant was anticipated to take the next step in the Denver Broncos offense, but that plan fell short. It’s fair to say that there was a strong correlation between Drew Lock being non-existent in 2020 and Fant struggling to have breakout performances. It’s true that Fant didn’t rank high in his position last year, but his performance was “very” impressive for the Broncos and the NFL given his situation.
In fact, only two tight ends had more receptions in a single season than Fant: Shannon Sharpe and Julius Thomas (with Peyton Manning). Fant also missed a game and played another game with a running back at QB.
Keep an eye on the buzz coming out of the Broncos training camp. If one of the game’s fastest TEs is looking even more clean with his craft, be sure to know defenses will have an even harder time accounting for him and the other Broncos receiving weapons.