Faceoff: Chris Cooley
Mark Wimer: Chris Cooley's situation has altered significantly over the last year. He now faces competition for the football from Fred Davis, and a whole new coaching staff/system - all of this on top of rehabbing a serious ankle injury that landed him on IR at the end of last season. While reports out of Washington indicate that Cooley's ankle is in good shape, we won't really know this for a fact until the pads go on and hitting/tackling begins during training camp.
Reports out of Washington during July indicate that Davis has impressed Mike Shanahan, and that the coaching staff may have the offense spend a significant amount of time in two tight end sets, which will allow them to get Davis more involved in the offense. In my opinion, it is hard to see how Cooley will gain targets/receptions from this scenario - he'll be on the field for a lot of plays, but a significant portion of the time he'll be blocking for Clinton Portis or running routes to help open up the wide receivers - or seeing the passes go to Davis. Also, Davis is a very able receiver in the cramped confines of the red-zone, making it likely that Cooley will see less scoring opportunities than in years past.
While some reports have Cooley splitting out wide as a wide receiver during OTAs, it remains to be seen how many targets Cooley will get with Donovan McNabb under center - the team chemistry is an unknown right now, which is another reason why Cooley and Davis are slid down my tight end board on the eve of training camp. There is quite simply a lot of uncertainty about how the offense is going to shake out in Washington, and I'm not willing to spend a relatively high pick on a tight end who is in a questionable role on his team. We know that Brent Celek and Visanthe Shiancoe are the lead tight ends on their team. We can't say that with certainty about Cooley.
Cooley is likely to have some strong games, but I don't think he'll be scoring enough fantasy points to be a TE 1 consistently - good luck guessing when he'll be favored in the game plan and when Davis is going to be "the man". This looks like a situation that will have Cooley owners tearing out their hair - no thanks, I'll pass.