During the offseason, TE Delanie Walker signed a four-year contract with the Tennessee Titans to be the top tight end. The former 49ers TE became one of the many weapons on the Titans roster.
“[While being in Tennessee], I’m getting the opportunity that I want,” Walker said in a conference call. “I think I’m going to have more receptions and bigger games.”
Walker spent the first eight years of his NFL career with the 49ers and was the team’s second tight end behind Vernon Davis. He was a sixth-round pick in the 2006 NFL Draft when Davis was the 49ers’ first round selection.
Even though he misses being behind the Pro Bowl tight end, he has taken into account what he learned over the years.
“I felt like learning behind Vernon [Davis] was a good opportunity for me to see what he did and that’s why I developed,” Walker said. “I felt like it was good for me to break off and have my own identity.”
In seven seasons while playing with San Francisco, Walker accumulated 123 receptions for 1,465 receiving yards to go with eight touchdowns.
With the Titans, Walker has 20 receptions, 185 receiving yards and has two touchdowns. His best game was against the San Diego Chargers when he had five receptions for 49 yards in Week 3.
Titans head coach Mike Munchak said Walker was attractive in free agency because he fit their system. They lost TE Jared Cook to the St. Louis Rams in the offseason and felt Walker would be a great option.
“He can play well [at several positions],” Munchak said of Walker. “We were interested in him and with us he is getting more playing time [than he did in San Francisco]. He has been a good leader for us in the locker room. Our mindset on offense is similar with how we approach the game and Walker is [familiar] with a lot of things we’re asking him to do.”
Munchak said Walker’s role with the Titans has been similar to the “Swiss army knife” comparison that Jim Harbaugh used to say about him. Besides the passing game, the tight end has been used as a fullback and extra blocker in rushing situations.
Walker was unsure how 49ers would defend him on Sunday, but he expects Patrick Willis to be utilized. He assumed there will be a mix of defensive backs and linebackers used in order to cover him. Walker said rookie safety Eric Wright is trying to become the next Donte Whitner with his tackling and hitting abilities.
Despite being in Tennessee, Walker said he is still friends with several of his former teammates. He said it will be business on the field, but he feels good about his move to the Titans. He has no hard feelings or bad blood with what the 49ers did for him.
“I think we’re going to talk and laugh before the game [with other players],” Walker said. “But you know how it is when the pads go on and the whistle goes. You know how it is as you [have to] lay it out.”