We're now five weeks away from the start of Week 1's Sunday kickoff extravaganza, and the New Orleans Saints will be one of the big teams to watch as they host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. What that game will look like remains to be seen, as the COVID-19 protocols and threat are uncertain. We keep focusing on the top members of the black and gold going into the new season, and visit our countdown before we get into our player focus.
- No. 25, Latavius Murray | No. 24, Taysom Hill | No. 23, C.J. Gardner-Johnson
- No. 22, Malcom Brown | No. 21, Marcus Williams | No. 20, Deonte Harris
- No. 19, Andrus Peat | No. 18, Cesar Ruiz | No. 17, Janoris Jenkins
- No. 16, Thomas Morstead | No. 15, Wil Lutz | No. 14, Marcus Davenport
- No. 13, Erik McCoy | No. 12, David Onyemata | No. 11, Malcolm Jenkins
- No. 10, Emmanuel Sanders
No. 9 - Jared Cook
Jared Cook graded out tied for eighth among all tight ends at 78.3 overall. It ended up being the best analytical grade of his career, and he was selected to his second consecutive Pro Bowl. He finished out as the league leader in yards per catch, while coming in second in touchdown grabs. Cook's 2019 ended up with 14 games played, grabbing 43 receptions for 705 yards (16.4 average) and 9 touchdowns.
Things didn't start out so hot for Cook, but he showed some promise in the back-to-back games against the Buccaneers and Jaguars in the first half of October. However, he'd miss the next two contests due to an ankle injury. When he returned, that's when things changed. Between Weeks 11-17, Cook was practically a monster against opposing defenses. He had the fifth-highest receiving yards among all tight ends, which accounted for nearly 66 percent (463 yards) of his season production.
Cook's Outlook in 2020
Cook enters the second and final year of his original contract, and looks to go out with a bang. He certainly could stick around, but his next deal's price tag should increase. He looks to have plenty in the tank at 33, and should have another strong season in the Saints offense.
The chemistry with Drew Brees is obviously there, and newcomers like Emmanuel Sanders could help Cook out in 2020. We're not sure what the roles of Taysom Hill will look like exactly, as well as what third-rounder Adam Trautman could bring to the table. Cook has never seen a 1,000-yard season in his 11-year career, but that has a big chance to change for the veteran. He has tremendous upside this season, and is in line for a big season.