Around the NFC West: Two vertical targets

May, 8, 2013
5/08/13
8:00
AM ET
Good morning, NFC West ...

Recently published items on St. Louis Rams tight end Jared Cook and San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Ricardo Lockette caught my attention while running through some of the headlines in the box at right.

Sizing up Cook: Rotoworld's Evan Silva saw a very specific kind of player when he watched every pass intended for Cook last season.

"Cook has never been a voluminous catcher of footballs," Silva writes. "He is a big-play, vertical-seam tight end, ill suited to be utilized like Jason Witten in Dallas, or even Brandon Pettigrew in Detroit."

Cook, signed in free agency from the Tennessee Titans, was 8.5 yards past the line of scrimmage on average when targeted last season, according to ESPN Stats & Information. That was higher than the 7.9-yard NFL average for all tight ends. Cook's average ranked 10th among the 24 tight ends with as many or more targets than the 67 charted for Cook. As Silva notes, Cook suffered from too many off-target passes in Tennessee.

Expect Cook to serve as a slot receiver in a tight end's body.

Where Lockette stands: Seattle Seahawks fans might recall Lockette finishing 2011 with two late-season receptions, a 61-yarder against Arizona and a 44-yarder against the 49ers. They also might recall Lockette never fulfilling the high expectations Seattle once had for him.

The 49ers think they can get the most from the 6-foot-2, 211-pounder with 4.37-second speed in the 40-yard dash.

"There is something special there -- I can feel it," coach Jim Harbaugh said of Lockette earlier this offseason.

Taylor Price, writing for the 49ers' website, says Lockette is spending much of his offseason with quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The two are roommates. They work out together. They hang out together. This can only be good for Lockette.

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