The Tennessee Titans have loved their athletic tight ends over the past few years, but honestly where has it gotten them.
A few years ago the Titans front office (albeit a different front office) fell in love with the potential of Jared Cook, an athletic tight end from South Carolina. So much so that they traded up to grab him in the 2009 NFL Draft (the pick they traded eventually became Pro Bowl linebacker Daryl Washington). Then after his contract was up he signed a massive deal with the same coach that drafted him, Jeff Fisher.
Well, a quick look at his career makes all of those moves laughable. Not only has Cook not lived up to his contract, but he hasn't even lived up to being a third round pick. In seven seasons the tight end only has 16 touchdowns, so roughly two per year. That matches up well with another interesting stat where Cook only averages two catches per game in his career.
Enough about Cook, fast forward to the 2012 NFL Draft where the Titans again traded up to select an athletic tight end. Well, if Jared Cook has failed to live up to expectations, Thompson falls somewhere much lower. While Thompson was a VERY good special teams player and blocker, he was possibly one of the worst receivers the team has had in its time in Tennessee.
To be fair to Thompson, he was a converted defensive end and he went through multiple coordinators and quarterbacks. However, the experiment failed and he was cut earlier this week.
So, I bring all of this up to say that despite gaudy preseason numbers for Taylor Thompson (led all TEs in catches) the team made a mistake starting the flashy Thompson over the more reliable Coffman.
Now, I am not asking to make Coffman a primary player in the offense or anything like that, but I just hope that now the Titans have seen that more athletic is not always better. Look at Taylor Thompson's entire career against Chase Coffman's 2014 season.
Taylor Thompson (career)- 11 receptions on 23 targets, 83 yards, 3 first downs, and 1 TD
Chase Coffman (2014)- 6 receptions on 15 targets, 64 yards, 4 first downs, and 1 TD
That is a pitiful matchup.
The Tennessee Titans have their rockstar tight end in Delanie Walker, now they need someone safe and reliable next to him. Craig Stevens and Anthony Fasano seem like non-flashy guys that could fill that role, but what the Titans don't need is another project.
Let's hope that the Titans don't fall for the classic trap of potential vs reality again in the future, and they give Marcus Mariota someone solid to dump it off to.