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 Post subject: Taylor Thompson: Titans version of Rob Gronkowski?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 1:09 am 
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Why is this worth your attention. Well if Thompson does showcase some upside this year, then it might mean that the Titans won't be in a positon to bend over backwards to extend the deal of current starting TE Jared Cook. Cook becomes an unrestricted free agent after this season, and the Titans have yet to really engage in extension talks: http://ten.247sports.com/Article/Jared- ... sion-78996

Cook is a potentially dynamic receiver in a similar vein as Jermichael Finley. And could be a potential option for hte Falcons next spring rather than using a #1 or #2 pick on a Gonzo replacement.

What's also intresting is that the Titans gave Cook's backup, #2 TE Craig Stevens a 4-yr. $14.4 million extension in January.



http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d8 ... gronkowski

Taylor Thompson: Titans version of Rob Gronkowski?
4

By Dan Hanzus
Writer
Published: July 1, 2012 at 08:22 p.m.
Updated: July 1, 2012 at 08:47 p.m.

Print

Everybody wants a Gronk, but there's only one.

Well, that's not exactly accurate. There's a whole bunch of them and they all have Zubaz. It's pretty weird.

But Rob Gronkowski ... there's only one of those. The New England Patriots star can pull in Tom Brady passes with his hands, stretch defenses with his speed and truck linebackers with his power.
Brooks: Gronk vs. Graham
Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy
Graham lead a renaissance at the tight end position. Who's better? Bucky Brooks examines. More ...

The emergence of Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham in New Orleans has teams across the NFL trying to find a dynamic tight end of their own.

Case in point: The Tennessee Titans, who used their fifth-round pick in April on Taylor Thompson, a 6-foot-6, 290-pound defensive end at SMU who has been converted to tight end.

From the Sporting News:

"According to sources, Thompson showed elite athleticism similar to New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski. The Titans believe Thompson could become a dynamic offensive player and be special in the long term if he continues to develop."

A pipe dream perhaps, but Gronkowski was something of a diamond in the rough himself, lasting 41 picks before the Pats grabbed him in 2010.

In Thompson, coach Mike Munchak is hoping to have the matchup nightmare that Bill Belichick enjoys every Sunday in New England. It's a longshot, but the payoff is huge.

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 Post subject: Re: Taylor Thompson: Titans version of Rob Gronkowski?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:58 pm 
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I would have liked for the the Falcons to take a 4th round flyer on Thompson. He is a freak athlete and has a better chance of being a impact player than a FB (no disrespect to Bradie Ewing). Jared Cook is a beast I remember seeing him make a plethora of plays last season including a 80 plus yard catch run.

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 Post subject: Re: Taylor Thompson: Titans version of Rob Gronkowski?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 1:52 pm 
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Agreed, Ewing should be a good pro. But he doesn't have the sort upside that a player like Thompson would have.

The Titans top FAs next year are Cook, K Rob Bironas, and CB Jason McCourty, at least in terms of players most likely to get a franchise tag. The franchise tag for TEs this year was about $5.5 million, so probably around $6 million next year. So let's hope that Thompson gives the Titans 6 million reasons not to tag Cook.

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 Post subject: Re: Taylor Thompson: Titans version of Rob Gronkowski?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 9:35 pm 
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http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120 ... ck_check=1

Tennessee Titans' Taylor Thompson wants to show he wasn't a reach
Thompson learning new spot in NFL
10:31 PM, Jul 18, 2012 |

Written by
Jim Wyatt
The Tennessean

Titans rookie tight end Taylor Thompson knows what plenty of fans, and NFL teams, are thinking.

He’s going to need time to develop. His chances of being an impact player in his first season are slim. He was a risky pick by the Titans in the fifth round.

Thompson, however, doesn’t agree.

“I don’t think I’m as much of a project as some people might think,’’ he said. “I feel like I have prepared myself pretty well, especially getting a lot of reps and a lot of work in practices. I feel like I am just as much prepared as any guy coming in.”

Heading into the 2012 season, the Titans know exactly what they have in veteran Craig Stevens. The fifth-year pro is the team’s best blocker, and a pretty impressive athlete himself. How much do the Titans like Stevens? Well, he was the first player to be rewarded with a contract extension this offseason.

The Titans also have high expectations for Jared Cook, who’s a big matchup problem for defenses. Cook has also made great strides as a blocker since entering the league in 2009.

At this point, Thompson remains a bit of a wild card. A defensive end in college at SMU, Thompson switched positions prior to the draft.

Even Coach Mike Munchak admits he’s developing in front of everyone’s eyes.

“(Thompson’s) going to be a work in progress,” Munchak said. But he added, “So far, he’s done a really nice job.”

Thompson’s rapid development, in fact, played into the team’s decision to release veteran Daniel Graham last month.

The move gave the 6-foot-6, 268-pound Thompson even more opportunities during offseason workouts.

“He’s big, he’s fast, and he catches the ball,” quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said of Thompson. “The fact that he’s getting reps is helping him for sure, too.”

Still, tight ends coach John Zernhelt knows Thompson must develop all-around to improve his chances of getting on the field this fall.

“It’s one thing to know who to block; it’s another thing to know how to block,’’ Zernhelt said. “He’s just at the start of the process.”

Many draft analysts thought Thompson could’ve been a middle-round draft pick as a defensive end after a senior season at SMU in which he recorded a team-high eight sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss.

“Of course there is small stuff tight ends in college naturally know that I have to learn,’’ Thompson said, “but I feel like I am progressing as well as anyone else.”


TIGHT ENDS

WHO’S IN CAMP: Craig Stevens, Jared Cook, Taylor Thompson, Brandon Barden, Cameron Graham, Beau Brinkley (long snapper).
• Key stat: Cook caught 49 passes for 759 yards in 2011. Cook’s yardage total finished second in franchise history for a tight end, coming within nine yards of Frank Wycheck’s record of 768 yards in 1998.

• Who’s on the spot: Cook. A third-round draft pick in 2009, Cook has ended the past two seasons on fire. In 2011, he had 21 catches for 335 yards in the last three games. For one reason or another he’s been a slow starter in his career, however. He caught two balls or fewer on nine of the team’s first 13 games a year ago. The Titans need Cook to be a factor from the get-go this fall.

• Battle to watch: Cook vs. Thompson. Stevens is going to be on the field plenty. The Titans signed him to a new four-year deal this offseason because he’s a great blocker who can also get open and catch the ball. So the battle will be for playing time alongside him, and more. Cook is going to play, but the faster Thompson develops, the better chance he’ll have to be on the field in crucial situations. It could take some time away from Cook.

• The Undercard: Barden vs. Graham. Graham spent last year on the practice squad, so he has a better grasp of the system at this point. Barden, who was underutilized at Vanderbilt, has been impressive catching the football this offseason, however. He’ll need to show up when the pads come on, but the bet here is he beats out Graham. Whether he’ll make it on the 53-man roster — or the practice squad — is the question.

• Offseason star: Thompson. Yes, he still has a lot to learn while making the transition from defensive end to tight end. But Thompson is an extraordinary athlete with great size. He caught the ball well in workouts, and the Titans are banking on him making an impact during his rookie season.

• Player to watch: Thompson. The Titans already have plenty of weapons on offense. If this guy develops, he could be a huge playmaker. Titans fans will want to keep an eye on Thompson in training camp. He’ll be the 6-foot-6, 268-pounder running down the field in No. 84.
— Jim Wyatt

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 Post subject: Re: Taylor Thompson: Titans version of Rob Gronkowski?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 11:54 am 
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Quote:
Agreed, Ewing should be a good pro. But he doesn't have the sort upside that a player like Thompson would have.


Yeah I saw this yesterday and thought, boy I bet he could have learned a thing or two from Gonzo. Why we're so reluctant to address something at TE long term is beyond me. Meanwhile the Pats have kicked the tires on 800 TE's this offseason.

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 Post subject: Re: Taylor Thompson: Titans version of Rob Gronkowski?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 11:47 am 
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Well my dream that Thompson would make Cook obsolete, and thus the Falcons could sign him next spring doesn't appear to be likely at this point...

http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120 ... ck_check=1

Tennessee Titans' Taylor Thompson adjusts to new position
12:34 AM, Aug 26, 2012 |

Written by
John Glennon
The Tennessean


He’s arguably had the most challenging offseason and training camp of any Titans player, a collegiate defensive end who’s transitioning back to tight end — a position he hadn’t played since high school.

Predictably, there have been some missteps along the way for Taylor Thompson — a fumble here, a dropped pass there.

But as the Titans near the start of the regular season, coach Mike Munchak says he believes Thompson, a fifth-round pick this year, is on pace to make contributions this season, quicker than some might have expected.

“He’s done well,” Munchak said. “People think, ‘Well this guy won’t help you until next year. He hasn’t played tight end since high school.’ … He’s doing a good job on special teams, so he’s going to find a place there. He’ll also get into the rotation at times where he’ll be helpful. There will be times when we may want to go with some three tight-end sets, if we think it’s an advantage, and he’ll get an opportunity to do that for us.”

On the plus side for Thompson, he’s tied for third on the team with four catches through three preseason games, seems to be processing the offense at a good pace and has become a regular part of the special-teams units.

On the other hand, one difficulty he found himself adjusting to through the first couple weeks of the preseason was players hitting him — or even trying to hit him — after spending his college years on the other side of the ball.

In the fourth quarter of the preseason opener in Seattle, Thompson was trying to battle for extra yardage when he was stripped of the football. The Seahawks recovered at the Tennessee 12.

In the third quarter of the win over Tampa Bay, Thompson dropped a catchable ball in the end zone as a pair of defenders pressured him.

Thompson dealt with plenty of contact on the college level, but admitted things are different on the other side of the ball.

“On offense, you have a ball you’re holding onto that you can’t let go of,” Thompson said. “On defense, you can just go crazy.”

He said he’s done his best to turn the preseason fumble into a positive experience.

“I learned a lot from it,” Thompson said. “I learned the kind of tempo I’ll be facing in a game after I catch the ball in the game, and about ball security. …”

Overall, Thompson said, he’s pleased with his progress in re-learning the tight end position.

“It’s going good,” Thompson said.

Munchak said tight end is one of the more difficult positions to play in the league because of the many responsibilities — blocking, motions, pass-catching and route-running.

But he’s encouraged by Thompson’s progress as well.

“I think the fumble in the first week — he hasn’t fumbled since,” Munchak said. “In the games, his blocking is getting better.

“We’re asking him to do an awful lot, probably more so than any rookie. But I think he’s handled it well. That’s what we thought when we drafted him. We thought he was a guy that could probably handle this in a really quick manner.”

Reach John Glennon at 615-259-8262 or jglennon@tennessean.com.

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 Post subject: Re: Taylor Thompson: Titans version of Rob Gronkowski?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 4:09 pm 
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They locked up CB Jason McCourty to a long term deal, so I guess that coupled with the slow development of Thompson means that its almost a lock that Cook is resigned unless he just stinks it up.

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