Following the loss of Jared Cook early on in free agency, the Tennessee Titans moved on by signing career-backup tight end Delanie Walker. After spending his first seven seasons in San Francisco behind Vernon Davis, Walker will be taking on a new role with the Titans in 2013.
Walker has been brought in to be the man at TE for Tennessee, but there’s no doubt some risk associated with him, as he’s never racked up greater than 344 yards receiving in a season.
I don’t think you can read too much into those numbers, though, because he was stuck behind Davis. Walker’s role was that of a blocker, not a featured pass-catcher. At the same time, he’s really not a guy you expect to rack up big receiving numbers, given his skill set.
The Titans clearly are hoping he has a career-season as a receiver in 2013, and the TE sounds like he’s ready to take the next step in his career:
“What you’ve seen in previous years, I was more of a run-blocker. But they’ve given me the opportunity to make plays and be the playmaker. I’ve been out there every day working on just catching the ball, finishing and getting those yards because I want the quarterback to trust me and I want the coaches to trust me.”
I’m convinced that this year will be Walker’s best ever, but let’s be honest, topping 350 yards, isn’t that big of a deal. It will be interesting to see how he develops as a pass-catcher, and I think that he’ll be at his best in the red zone. He just doesn’t fit the mold of a tight end who’s going to go off for 800 or 1,000 yards in a season, he’s more of a 500 or 600-yard guy, who compiles a lot of short receptions.
Still, Walker is young, and he’ll by far have the most opportunities of his career. Will he be a breakout star? Probably not, but he should be very solid for the Titans next season.
Follow Andrew Fisher on Twitter