Jared Cook Is the Best Tight End in the AFC South

Nate DunlevyGuest ColumnistApril 6, 2012

The Texans are chasing the Titans' Cook.
The Texans are chasing the Titans' Cook.Bob Levey/Getty Images

The AFC South has long featured great tight end play, but some key players have moved on or been released. Here's how each team in the division stacks up at tight end heading into the draft. None of the teams feature more than one high quality, receiving tight end, especially now that Joel Dreessen has signed with Denver. Of course, some tight ends are used more in blocking situations, and that can be hard to quantify.


1. Tennessee Titans

Jared Cook came out of nowhere last year to lead the Titans in receiving. With a stunning 15.5 yards per reception, Cook helped to stretch defenses and was a major factor in what was a surprisingly efficient Titans passing attack. Craig Stevens was the No. 2 in terms of snap count but wasn't very good as a blocker or receiver.

2. Houston Texans

If this was 2011, the Texans would be No. 1, but Joel Dreessen is gone, leaving Owen Daniels in a heated battle with Jared Cook for the top spot. Daniels had fewer yards per reception and didn't block as well as Cook in 2011. He's the bigger name in fantasy football, but he's only second best in the division.


3. Jacksonville Jaguars

Marcedes Lewis got a big-time contract before last season, and went on to post the worst season of any tight end in football (narrowly edging Dallas Clark). I don't actually believe that Lewis is the worst tight end in the game, far from it in fact. Lewis is in many ways a perfect tight end. He can block and catch.  I suspect he'll bounce back big-time. Zach Potter got some snaps in 2011 but failed to distinguish himself. For now, though, there's really no possible way to rank the Jaguars' group over the Titans or Texans.


4. Indianapolis Colts

Dallas Clark and Jacob Tamme were both accomplished receivers, but neither will be playing for the Colts in 2012. The Colts' primary tight end is Brody Eldrige, proud owner of 14 career catches. The Colts desperately need to address this position in the draft.