Few Green Bay Packers fans have any idea of the astonishing athleticism that tight end Jared Cook brings to the team. You probably know he’s fast, but for a large tight end he’s crazy fast.
With a 4.50 40-yard dash time, Cook is at the 98th percentile among his tight end peers. Rob Gronkowski, the league’s consensus top tight end, had a 40 time of 4.73. That’s in just 51st percentile.
Cook’s overall athleticism is easily the best among NFL tight ends. His burst — vertical and broad jump scores combined — is also ranked in the 98th percentile. Gronk’s is 54th. Playerprofiler.com has Cook’s catch radius in the 97th percentile. Gronk’s is in the 65th.
More Cook trivia: his arm length of 35-and-three-quarters might the longest of any player at any position in the league.
Combine scores tell us the Packers now have the overall most athletic tight end in the league.
Though Cook has never had a top-shelf QB during his time with the Tennessee Titans or St. Louis Rams, he was mostly consistent and productive. In each of the last five seasons, Cook has caught from 39 to 52 passes, and gained between 481 and 759 yards. His yards per catch has also been steady — between 11.9 and 15.5.
In 2011, his best year, Cook caught 49 of Matt Hassslebeck’s 82 targets for 759 yards. The one glaring statistical shortcoming is touchdowns. He has just 16 in seven season.
The Packers don’t need a potential 1,000-yard receiver at tight end like Gronkowski, Seattle’s Jimmy Graham, Carolina’s Greg Olsen, or Cleveland’s Gary Barnidge.
Jermichael Finley’s best year in Green Bay was 2011, when he had 55 catches for 760 yards. Bubba Franks’ best yardage total was 442 (2002) and Mark Chmura’s best was 679 (1995).
Last season, Richard Rodgers had 58 catches (85 targets) for 510 yards, but only averaged 8.8 yards per catch. Cook has a career yards per catch average of 12.1.
If Cook can match Finley’s numbers — and he should unless platooned with Rodgers — he’ll be a steal of a free agent. At the very least, he’ll bring some much-needed athleticism to the position.