Tennessee Titans tight end Taylor Thompson — man, I love alliteration — appears poised for a bigger role in the team’s offense in 2013, with Jared Cook set to hit the free agent market.
If Cook leaves, Thompson could be the team’s go-to tight end.
Thompson entered the league as a defensive end, but was converted to tight end as a rookie project. It didn’t take long for Thompson to make improvements and the coaching staff immediately noticed.
He began to take away from Cook’s playing time and was a big reason why Cook saw his role in the offense decrease.
Thompson is a very willing blocker and has come along well as a receiving threat.
“Just learning to play with an offensive mindset was different, getting your body conditioned to run more than I had before, catching and running routes — it was everything,” Thompson said. “It was a long season, maybe even more than I thought it would be. But I think learning all that gives me a huge advantage going from year one to year two.
“I learned a lot from Cook as far as my receiving game. Just by watching him I learned how to run routes better and catch balls better and I learned most of my blocking from Craig.
“I have an expectation of what a full season is like, and a better idea of what it takes to be successful. I learned a lot, and I think it gets better from here.”
The fifth-round pick may have been a reason why the Titans felt comfortable not using the franchise tag on Cook.
Tennessee is still interested in re-signing Cook, but if the price tag is too steep, Thompson will be ready to step in and step up as a key contributor for the Titans. Thompson has loads of potential and he may have the opportunity to show it off sooner than any of us expected.