Tennessee Titans star tight end Delanie Walker earned MVP honors in a rainy Pro Bowl game Sunday afternoon.
Although Tennessee Titans fans all know what a fantastic tight end Delanie Walker is, and has been for several years, Walker still often flies under the radar in conversations about the best tight ends in the league, or even in just the AFC. Part of this must be credited to the fact that the Titans play in a relatively small market compared to the New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys of the world, but most of it is a product of how laughably bad the Titans have been at times during Walker’s stint with the team.
Though Walker may not be on the same level as Rob Gronkowski or Travis Kelce, he still consistently performs at an above average level on largely underwhelming offenses. At times, Walker has been the only bright spot on the Tennessee offense and has been Marcus Mariota’s go-to receiver in make-or-break situations for all three years of Mariota’s career. Even more than that, Walker has been a fantastic leader in the locker room and the community of Nashville as a whole.
Thus, it’s always great when Walker is able to gain some well-earned national recognition for his fantastic tight end play. Surrounded by superstars at the pinnacle of their respective positions, Walker outproduced all the bigger names like Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell, and T.Y. Hilton after being named an “alternate” for the Pro Bowl. His first touchdown came on a four-yard slant in traffic from his former quarterback, Alex Smith, in the third quarter.
Walker’s second touchdown catch of the day was an 18-yard catch down the seam from QB Derek Carr that gave the AFC its only lead of the day and was the eventual game-winning score. Despite the commonly held belief that the Pro Bowl means nothing, with the win, the AFC team won $64,000, which means the world to some younger players trapped by their rookie contracts like Kareem Hunt and Yannick Ngakoue. Carr was even quoted after the game saying that there were players on the sideline saying, “I need that money“.
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To Titans fans, Walker making clutch plays when his team needs them is nothing new. But on an offense filled with superstars, Walker’s dominance may have been a bit of a revelation for some more casual fans unacquainted with his recent string of success with the Titans.
Although Titans fans would prefer to be watching Delanie Walker dominate in the Super Bowl next weekend against the Philadelphia Eagles, it’s still great to see Walker finally getting some national recognition that is long overdue and bodes well for next season, even as Walker enters the late stages of his career. Something tells me he still has a couple more high-impact seasons left in the tank for the two-tone blue.