The Tennessee Titans traded with the New England Patriots and used the 89th spot overall to select tight end Jared Cook of South Carolina in the third round of the NFL Draft on Sunday.
Cook, 6-5, 246, turned in an outstanding performance at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, running a 4.49 time in the 40-yard dash and showing off a 41-inch vertical leap.
The Titans gave up their second-round pick in 2010 in order to move into the spot to select Cook.
Cook, who had been ranked the second best tight end available on Mel Kiper, Jr. draft board at ESPN, had to wait through the first day of the draft before hearing his name called on Sunday morning.
“I’m happy. It’s not what I expected, but I’m happy,” Cook said. “That makes me feel great, just the fact that they would want to come after me like that. It’s awesome.”
The Titans tight end situation is in a bit of flux after the upcoming season with Bo Scaife wearing the franchise tag, Alge Crumpler heading into the final year of his deal and last year’s third-rounder Craig Stevens unproven.
The Titans decided it was worth the gamble of giving up next year’s pick in order to secure Cook at that point in the draft.
“We had on our board a very, very good player in Jared Cook, and he was still there. We just took advantage of an opportunity,” Titans coach Jeff Fisher said. “We contacted New England, and they were willing to give up their pick for next year’s two, and we felt that was great value for Jared.”
The Titans had Cook rated highly enough that consideration was given to him with Saturday night’s second-round pick, according to Fisher.
Cook began his college career as a wide receiver, but moved to tight end after adding about 50 pounds to his frame.
“I run great routes, and have good hands, but I’m still learning how to block,” Cook said.
The Titans are excited to have a player with Cook’s potential to use in potential mismatches not only on the line, but split out wide.
“He’s probably faster than any receiver we have right now, except for Nate Washington,” scout Cole Proctor. “He’s going to create tremendous mismatches for us out there in the slot.
Compared to NFL great Shannon Sharpe by some draft watchers who thought he was a second-round possibility, Cook caught 37 passes for 573 and three touchdowns.
MOUTON IS NEXT:
With their own third round pick, five spots after trading a future pick for Jared Cook, the Titans finally addressed the cornerback situation with Hawaii’s Ryan Mouton.
“We also had several corners on the board and we got the one we wanted,” Titans coach Jeff Fisher said of Mouton.
The Titans did some extra work in evaluating Mouton, sending defensive backs coach Marcus Robertson to Houston, Mouton’s hometown, to work him out just before the draft. Mouton, who had run a 4.48 time in the 40-yard dash previously, had injured his hamstring at the NFL Combine in February and again at his pro day workout, leaving questions about him to be answered.
“Ryan pulled a hamstring at the Combine, and reinjured it during his workout,” Fisher said. “We sent Marcus Robertson down to see him on Friday, and he was very, very impressed with the workout. We’re very, very impressed with Ryan the person. We’re fortunate to get a corner that we think can add kickoff return skills. In addition, he’s got very, very good skills and a good football player.”
Mouton said he knew the Titans were interested in him from the workout he had. Most had projected him as a fourth-rounder, but he knew the Titans picking near the end of every round probably would take him in the bottom of round three.
“I felt that they were very interested, but I didn’t know exactly where they would pick me,” Mouton said. “I had heard fourth round with a couple of other teams. Tennessee, when they talked to my agent, he said they were really, really interested, and he told me they were the most interested.
“Looking at the fourth round and the teams that were also interested, we knew it would have to be earlier than [the fourth for the Titans].”
Being from Houston, Mouton has a connection to Titans quarterback Vince Young, attending the same elementary school. Mouton said his older brother is friends with Young, but that he “knows of” the quarterback.
Mouton, 5-9, 187, can play as a nickelback or on the outside and is also a kick returner.
Mouton even played some on offense for the Warriors with eight catches for 71 yards.
The Titans are in need of depth at cornerback behind starters Cortland Finnegan and Nick Harper, with only Cary Williams and DeMarcus Faggins behind them.