Saints to 'brush off' Graham plays for TE Jared Cook

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Coming off a career year in Oakland, Jared Cook finds himself in 2019 down south in New Orleans trying to fill a void in the Saints' lineup left by Jimmy Graham over four years ago.

Traded to the Seattle Seahawks in 2015, Graham averaged nearly 1,100 receiving yards per season in his last four years in New Orleans. A Saints tight end has not matched that production since his departure.

Enter Cook, a 32-year-old journeyman who's caught passes from everyone from Aaron Rodgers to Jake Locker to pre-Super Bowl Nick Foles.

In New Orleans, the tight end will be future Hall of Famer Drew Brees' likely second favorite target behind Michael Thomas, and the Saints are already drawing up a familiar game plan to get the most of Cook connection.

"The base is already here, the foundation for that is already here because they had a guy like (Graham)," Saints TE coach Dan Campbell said this week, per The Times-Picayune. "Look, we've already got what we need, we can brush off some of the stuff we've done before without any problem.

"We're going to do what (Cook) does best, we're going to use those plays, but let's see everything he can do. Let's test him."

Cook was a revelation at 31 last season in Oakland where he set career marks in targets (101), receptions (68), receiving yards (896) and TDs (6) on an otherwise dismal Raiders team.

By brushing off the Graham playbook, New Orleans will likely lean on Cook more than he has been leaned on in his career. Graham averaged 137.8 targets per year in his last four seasons in New Orleans and led the league with 16 receiving scores in 2013.

Of course, the Saints' offense is much more diverse now with the additions of Thomas, Alvin Kamara and even Taysom Hill into the fold. But New Orleans still lacks depth at receiving positions -- Tre'Quan Smith, Ted Ginn and Keith Kirkwood are threats to siphon targets away from Thomas -- making Cook an attractive on-field and fantasy option.

Will Cook experience a Jimmy Grahamian statistical explosion in the Superdome? Perhaps. At this point, the Saints are just happy to have another bona fide pass catcher for Brees.

As Campbell succinctly said of Cook, "I'm glad we got him."

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