Recently, I penned a piece that pondered the following question: What's in store for Jared Cook in 2010? After failing to live up to the hype surrounding the athletic phenom, the article took a look at the prospects of Cook turning things around in his 2nd NFL season.
Of course, Cook isn't the only up-and-coming TE on the proverbial hot seat this year.
Today, we'll continue the theme of young tight ends needing to step up by examining the prospects of 3rd year TE Craig Stevens in 2010.
With veteran stalwart Alge Crumpler vacating the premises this offseason, the opportunity for increased playing time is firmly in place for Stevens. After mostly contributing on special teams' during his first two NFL campaigns, Year Three will serve as Craig's first chance to be a regular on the offensive unit.
Regarded by renowned draft guru Mike Mayock as the best blocking TE in the 2008 NFL Draft, Stevens is expected to turn his potential into production this year. He'll replace Algernon as the team's primary blocking TE and judging by early reviews, the Titans appear to be confident that Stevens can get the job done.
Although Jared Cook and Bo Scaife are penciled in as the Titans' receiving threats at the TE position, Stevens shouldn't be overlooked as a pass catcher. In four years at Cal, Stevens accounted for 51 catches, 669 yards and 7 touchdowns.
Judging by this old Youtube clip from his days back in Berkeley, it's also apparent that Craig has some potential in the yards-after-catch (YAC) department.
Although Alge Crumpler's formidable blocking skills will be missed, I'm somewhat optimistic that Craig is more than capable of serving as a viable replacement in 2010 and beyond. Stevens appears to have a solid work ethic and certainly has the talent: now it's just a matter of him stepping up to the plate and living up to the glowing reviews of Mayock and others regarding his excellent blocking skills.
I'll certainly be watching to see if Stevens is able to get the job done in 2010.
Any thoughts on Craig Stevens and his tall task of replacing Crumpler? Feel free to contribute your thoughts in the comments section below.