The NFL released this year’s All Pro team today, and shockingly, no Tennessee Titans player made the list.
And I’m not being facetious here, this is no jab at another miserable season…
I’m really shocked, because with all things considered, Titans tight end Delanie Walker deserved the nod.
On the surface, it’s hard not to like the NFL’s selection, tight end Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots. He has ascended to elite status, and is considered the gold standard comparison when talking about the best tight ends in the league.
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This season Gronkowski hauled in 72 catches for 1,176 yards and 11 touchdowns. Impressive stats no doubt, but Walker’s season was more impressive if you step back and look at it from a panoramic view.
Walker finished the season with 94 catches, 1,088 yards, and 6 touchdowns, but it’s more than just the numbers…
He did so with one hand seemingly tied behind his back.
Now before you tweet, I am not calling Gronk marginal, I am saying that it is harder to double and triple team him because of Brady’s presence.
Walker, on the other hand, hauled in 94 catches this year from a rookie qb (Marcus Mariota), a second year 6th round pick that has struggled mightily over his career (Zach Mettenberger), and a practice squad call-up in Alex Tanney, who is known more for his YouTube trick shot videos than his career as a professional football player.
Gronkowski played for head coach Bill Belichick this season, another future first ballot Hall of Fame inductee. Walker was coached by Ken Whisenhunt (3-20 record with Titans), and Mike Mularkey (2-7 record as interim coach).
Rob Gronkowsi had the services of a healthy run game early in the season, as well as wide receiver Julian Edelman…who was having a terrific start to the season. Gronk had receivers on the outside that could make you pay if you chose to double team him repeatedly.
In Tennessee, the Titans chose to only keep four receivers on the active roster to start the season, and the two starters (Kendall Wright, Harry Douglas) were injured and ineffective all season long. With zero help from the run game, every defense that Walker faced this season knew that he was the only viable threat, yet he still averaged six receptions per game this year.
More than Gronkowski.
In 2015, Delanie Walker became just the ninth tight end in the history of the league to catch 90 or more passes in a season. That alone should be the bench mark for the position this season. Plus, he carried the Titans offense…something that Tom Brady does for New England’s offense, not their tight end.
Yes, Rob Gronkowski had an All Pro first team caliber season this year. Walker did too, but he did it with a rag-tag tin army…not an empire.
An All Pro season that will get lost in the record books.