After the first three days of OTAs, NFL teams are all about managing expectations. The hot-shot rookie wideout may not look that good once pads and looming safeties itching to tackle are added to the mix, while new offensive lineman struggling early are still getting used to the cadence, chemistry and playbook of a new team.
But pads or not, three days in with his new team or three hundred, it’s hard to stand at Jared Cook’s locker and gaze upon all 6-foot-5, 254 pounds of his Pro Bowl physique, which could challenge several defensive linemen in his new locker room, and not think of the endless possibilities he and Brees could conjure up this season.
“I’d read a lot of good things about him before he got here, but he’s certainly impressed us these first couple of days,” Brees said Thursday after the culmination of the team’s first three-day OTA. “He’s got a great feel for the game, and I think he’s going to fit very well in our offense.
“He’s got great length, so he’s got a big catch radius. You feel confident with those 50-50 balls. You feel like there’s a lot of places where you can throw if where he can get it and the other guy can’t. Anytime you have a target like that, you feel like that’s a good matchup.”
An acquisition like Cook was vital to the Saints offseason after not only losing last year’s leading tight end Ben Watson to a couple-month retirement before the veteran resurfaced with the Patriots, but also the uncertainty behind young receivers like Tre’Quan Smith and injury-prone pass catchers like Cam Meredith, who missed all of 2017 with the Bears and played just six games a year ago.