Jared Cook had to wait a little longer to be taken in the NFL draft than he had hoped, but the team that traded up to get him in the third round appears to be a very good fit.
Tennessee made a deal with New England to take the South Carolina tight end from North Gwinnett with the 89th overall selection.
The Titans, one of the NFL's top rushing teams, expect Cook to play immediately and help improve their passing game as he shares time with Bo Scaife. Cook's arrival likely signals the end of former Atlanta standout Alge Crumpler's stay in Tennessee.
"I'm happy and excited to get going," Cook said. "I thought my name would go off the board faster, but I landed in a real good place. It's close to home and a great team."
Tennessee gave a second-round pick in 2010 to New England to move up and grab Cook, a converted wide receiver who impressed scouts at the NFL combine by running the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds.
"He's a guy that we didn't expect to be there," Titans general manager Mike Rinfeldt told the Tennessean newspaper. "When you get a chance to add a difference maker, you need to jump in and make it happen."
Tennessee drafted Rutgers wide receiver Kenny Britt in the first round and then grabbed Cook in the third round after making Auburn defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks their second-round pick. Cook caught 37 passes for 573 yards and three touchdowns last season for South Carolina, earning All-SEC honors.
"These kind of guys don't come around very often with the skill set that he has," Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher told reporters when asked about Cook.
Cook, who is 6-foot-5 and 246 pounds, knows that he's still a work in progress as a blocker.
"I want to learn the playbook as fast as I can," Cook said. "As a blocker, I'm still learning some things. But I can get the job done and I'm going to bust my butt to do that."
Scaife led the Titans with 58 catches last season. He received the one-year franchise tag from Tennessee, agreeing to sign the $4.46-million tender Monday. But his chances of getting a long-term deal diminished with the drafting of Cook.
Cook's brother, Jason, wasn't drafted, but the Ole Miss fullback signed with Baltimore as a free agent.
Two other players from Gwinnett County also signed as free agents. Georgia fullback Brannan Southerland, a graduate of Greater Atlanta Christian, was signed by the New York Jets. Auburn wide receiver Rod Smith, who went to South Gwinnett, agreed to a deal with San Diego.
Atlanta drafted Furman cornerback Wyatt Middleton in the fifth round. He went to Marist, but lives in Norcross.