Tight end is one of the most tumultuous positions for the St. Louis Rams franchise. Looking back on the history of the position, the Rams have only had two starters of any significance, and Billy Truax and Bob Klein played when most of us were not even yet twinkles in our father's eyes.
Jared Cook is a 6' 5" 248 lbs beast of a man. His vertical leap and quickness is unparalleled in the NFL among tight ends. Because of that ability, Cook has the potential to be a game changer for the St. Louis Rams, particularly in the red zone. While not the best blocking tight end, Cook will make his money lining up at various spots on the field, namely bookend, slot, and outside. This will utilize the big man's talent, much like he was used at the University of South Carolina under coach Steve Spurrier. The Titans never fully took advantage of Cook's ability, something offensive coordinator Brain Schottenheimer is licking his chops to do. Cook fits the mold of the new era tight end, having been a stand-out basketball player whose leaping ability made him an effective rebounder.
Starter, Sort Of-
Lance Kendricks was a 2nd round pick in the 2011 NFL draft. While he hasn't been impressive, he has been at the least, functional. He has amassed just 871 yards during his two seasons thus far. Kendricks will serve as a blocker from the backfield and on the line. Our own Tevin Broner said it best here. Kendricks will stick around. The ways of NFL offenses in our era require two tight ends, period.
Backups and Camp Bodies-
The former Tennessee Titan was an undrafted free agent out of Louisville. Projects as a practice squad/special teams player and emergency backup TE.
The UCLA product will be spending his second season with the Rams. The former Bruin was ranked the number 10 tight end out of high school, but will mainly see the practice field and special teams.
Another undrafted rookie free agent, Lutzenkirchen hails from Auburn, where he set a record for most touchdowns by a tight end (7), and was an All SEC second team nominee. We may see him on the field at points, but he projects as a developmental practice squad and special teams player.
McNeil played in 14 games for the Rams in 2012, but only caught 4 balls. He is primarily a blocking TE, and he will be looking to stay on the team.
The 5th year player who converted his rookie year from defensive end to tight end has started 14 games in his career. He projects as a practice squad player, and may see time as an emergency backup.
Prince attended tryouts for the Rams and was signed as an undrafted free agent this year. He had 225 yards for two touch downs at Oregon State. Prince will be a camp body.
While the Rams appear loaded at the position, the top two guys are the only ones worthy of starting. Teams will often carry numerous tight ends into camp to get the best two to three bodies needed for special teams. With that being said, there is much to get excited about in regard to the tight end position.
With Jared Cook in tandem with Lance Kendricks in two tight end sets, Sam Bradford will have nice options with the speedy receivers getting the attention of safeties over the top. Imagine Cook catching a pass on a short slant, Kendricks breaking off his hitch route to run in front of Cook! Or how about those two big bodies on the line during a jumbo package, paving the way on a swing pass to Tavon Austin! Excited yet? You should be!