Tennessee Titans: ESPN’s bold prediction for Delanie Walker
ESPN’s bold prediction for the Tennessee Titans had to do with tight end Delanie Walker.
ESPN made a list of bold predictions for all 32 NFL teams, and tight end Delanie Walker was the subject for the Tennessee Titans.
Turron Davenport made the bold prediction that Walker would catch 90 passes for 1,000 yards in 2019.
"TE Delanie Walker will have 90 catches and 1,000 receiving yards.Quarterback Marcus Mariota is most comfortable throwing to Walker, who has averaged 71.2 receptions and 831.2 yards per season since the two started playing together in 2015. Walker is on a mission to prove that at 35 years old, he is still capable of being the NFL’s best tight end."
It’s true Walker and quarterback Marcus Mariota have great chemistry, as Walker has a 20 percent target share or better in each of the three full seasons he and Mariota have played together.
And believe it or not, Walker compiling that kind of stat line isn’t outlandish at all. In fact, Walker’s best year came in Mariota’s rookie season in 2015, when the veteran caught 94 passes for 1,088 yards and six touchdowns.
The two didn’t take long to reconnect after Walker missed all but one game in 2018, either. Mariota hit Walker for a touchdown pass in Preseason Week 2, which was Walker’s first game action since injuring his ankle in Week 1 of last season against the Miami Dolphins.
As Davenport points out, Walker is extremely motivated to prove doubters wrong. There are many who think Walker can’t return to form at the age of 35 after his serious injury. The tight end also didn’t like how experts are ranking lesser-known tight ends ahead of him.
Even though Walker will undoubtedly have another stellar season with the Titans — he totaled 800 receiving yards or more and an average of five touchdowns in the four seasons prior to 2018 — the deck is stacked against him having a career year.
The Titans added receivers Adam Humphries and second-round pick A.J. Brown in the offseason, giving Mariota the best group of pass-catchers the Oregon product has ever had during his career.
With more options to throw to, Walker’s normally plentiful opportunities could be a bit limited, but that doesn’t change the fact that Walker is still Mariota’s favorite target.
With that being the case, Walker will have more than enough chances to finish near the top of the league at his position in 2019.