Prior to the 2019 NFL Draft, a litany of mock drafts had the Tennessee Titans selecting a tight end in the first round.
Iowa’s TJ Hockenson and Noah Fant were the two popular choices for the Titans.
Hockenson was eventually selected by the Detroit Lions with the No. 8 overall selection, while Fant was selected by the Denver Broncos with the No. 20 pick (right after the Titans took Jeffery Simmons at No. 19).
I’m not surprised the Titans passed on taking a tight end, but I also wouldn’t have been shocked if they selected one (if Hockenson would’ve fell, I definitely think he’d be a Titan right now).
Starting tight end Delanie Walker will turn 35 before the start of the 2019 season and he’s coming off an ankle injury that forced him to miss nearly the entire 2018 season. It’s safe to say that his return to pre-injury form is far from a certainty. Behind Walker, Jonnu Smith, the Titans’ third round pick in 2017, has yet to prove he’s capable of eventually taking the torch from Walker.
Despite the uncertainty at the tight end position, Walker wasn’t pleased with the mock drafts that had the Titans selecting a tight end in the first round. In fact, Walker seemed downright mad at the idea of Tennessee taking a tight end, saying “The NFL disrespects me all the time”.
Walker, who was talking to reporters at Ben Jones’ celebrity clay shoot, added “If they would’ve drafted a tight end, he still wouldn’t have played. He wouldn’t have beat me for my spot.”
Plenty of mock drafts had the @Titans taking a tight end in the @nfldraft. #Titans TE @delaniewalker82 shook his head at the notion while at the Ben Jones Celebrity Clay Shoot. pic.twitter.com/LDrtMHVdJ3
— Jim Wyatt (@jwyattsports) May 3, 2019
It should be encouraging for Titans fans to see Walker’s confidence heading into the 2019 season. If the Titans are going to return to the playoffs this upcoming season, they’ll need Walker to return to his pre-injury form.
But unfortunately, there are no guarantees that Walker will be the same player he was before his injury. Father time is undefeated and serious injuries are always tough to come back from. I don’t have any doubt that Walker will outwork everyone around him so he can get back to the field and contribute like he did in 2017, but the jury is still out on whether or not he’ll be the same player.
Featured image via Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports