Breaking News – Fresh off a trip to the Super Bowl, Delanie Walker cashes in, signing a four-year deal with the Tennessee Titans.
NFL Impact – Delanie is one of the NFL’s best blocking players. He is also a phenomenal special teams player. The 49ers used him in all types of packages and positions and he could be one of the most underrated players in the NFL when talking to the casual fan. To the “professional” football observer, Delanie was an invaluable tool for the Niners and they will miss him.
He often played at TE and Full Back with regularity and made everyone else’s jobs easier, including Frank Gore. Somewhere, Gore is crying himself to sleep tonight. On the flip-side, Jake Locker and Chris Johnson should be doing backflips on this news.
This likely means that the Titans are done trying to hold onto brooding free agent Jared Cook. Cook had been a priority for the Titans and was most likely a target for the franchise tag. But with Cook battling to be labeled a wide receiver, the Titans moved on and found one of the better utility players in the game. Walker cannot replace the pass-catching ability Cook brought but he will help in other ways. In fact, Walker is not much of a pass catcher. He can do wonders once he catches it but I swear every time I watched him play he would drop one or two passes.
Fantasy Spin – With Delanie landing in Tennessee, this should upgrade Chris Johnson going into fantasy drafts. He was already getting back on track after a disappointing 2011 campaign but with Walker coming in to help block on the edges, Johnson should have an easier time breaking free.
While losing Cook is a blow to Jake Locker in terms of targets to throw too, Walker is a better blocking TE than Cook and should be able to give Locker more time in general to make passes. The Titans do have a really athletic TE, Taylor Thompson to pair with Walker but we’ll have to see how that relationship develops. Thompson is a promising prospect but still learning.