Jonnu Smith is ready to take TE1 spot permanently
After a monstrous offseason that saw Walker work to get back to the starting lineup to start the 2019 season, a setback to the ankle he broke a year ago eventually derailed the comeback of the star tight end, once again forcing him back to the IR list.
As unfortunate as the whole situation with the former Pro Bowl tight end is, this injury has opened the door for Smith to showcase what he can do if given the chance to be the full-time starter.
He occasionally played well a year ago in relief for Walker, as he made the occasional big play here and there, but there were also plenty of plays that he left on the table, creating legitimate questions as to whether or not Smith would ever be able to take over for Walker on a permanent basis.
However, this season Smith has grabbed this opportunity to be the starter and is not looking back, as any questions about his abilities are getting answered by the week. He has set career-highs in yards, catches and touchdowns, and is seemingly good for a big play or two per game.
Smith is making a stronger argument by the week that he has the ability to be the TE1 going forward and an extremely tough decision regarding the future of Walker may be on the horizon in the near future.
The former Florida International product is a locomotive with the ball in his hand and is hard to get down once he gets a full head of steam.
The team is finding a variety of ways for the former third-round pick to touch the ball and he is capitalizing on those opportunities. Today was another perfect example of that, as Smith found the soft spot in the zone and used his speed to beat everyone to the pylon on his way to a 41-yard touchdown.
The Titans tight end finished the day with a productive 63 yards and one touchdown on three catches.
If this team is going to make some noise not only next week but going forward in January, Jonnu is likely going to have to be an integral part of the offense and has the potential to make himself a household name if given the chance to show off his talents on a national platform like the playoffs.