The Tennessee Titans snatched up tight end and ace special-teamer Delanie Walker to a deal within the first hour of free agency. The seven-year vet provided a key versatile element for the San Francisco 49ers from their dark ages right on through the Jim Harbaugh-led resurgence. He was there for Mike Singletary and Mike Nolan. Heck, Delanie could probably write a book about the incredible turnaround that has taken place in Northern California.
Days after adding embattled veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick via free agency — who in this scenario would sort of fill the Alex Smith role — Delanie thinks that same transformation is under way down in Nashville.
“(The Titans) kind of run a similar offense as the 49ers, and I think that’s why they grabbed me, because I can play multiple positions, move all over the field, and be a key player,” Walker said, via NFL.com’s Marc Sessler. “So I feel like I’m going to take that role again, but it’s going to be even bigger. I see myself making great, big plays there, just like they told me. They want me … to be a leader on that team. … We’re building. They’re very young … but we’ll get there, just like the 49ers did.”
This of course is an incredibly lofty goal, but there are some similarities outside of offensive styles and Walker’s presence between the 49ers of the past couple years and the 2013 Titans.
There’s the recent futility thanks to Tennessee’s four consecutive playoff misses. Like offensive-minded Harbaugh in 2012, Mike Munchak enters his second year as head coach and is known for presiding over good offensive lines. Quarterback Jake Locker is the mobile, cannon-armed-yet-unpolished 2011 draft pick, providing the Colin Kaepernick to Fitzpatrick’s veteran presence in Smith.
Now if Locker can start looking anything like Kaepernick, they might be in business.