Titans tight end Delanie Walker had a career year in 2013. His 60 catches were more than double his highest receptions total in any of his seven previous seasons. His six touchdowns matched his combined sum from 2011 and 2012. His 571 yards were a 40 percent jump up from 2012.
Now it's a new year, and Walker wants to best his career highs by a wide margin yet again. Walker said on NFL Network recently that he wants to catch 80 balls this season and thinks he has a realistic chance to do just that under head coach Ken Whisenhunt.
Only three tight ends caught that many passes last season -- Jimmy Graham, Tony Gonzalez, and Jordan Cameron. Only 12 players in Titans franchise history have reached that mark, all of them wide receivers. Frank Wycheck has the record for receptions by a Titans tight end at 70.
Whisenhunt was a tight end during his eight-year playing career in the NFL and oversaw a bit of a rebirth from Antonio Gates as the Chargers' offensive coordinator last season. But tight ends were an afterthought on offense during his six years as the Cardinals' head coach, so let's not make him out to be a magic potion who always gets the best of out of his TEs.
Walker actually finished as the 11th-best fantasy tight end overall last year, but it hasn't meant much for his 2014 draft prospects. He is way down the list of tight ends in average draft position. Tennessee is lacking in proven pass-catchers, so while I don't think Walker will reach 80 receptions, a small improvement upon his 2013 stats is plausible. He could be a useful bye-week fill-in. He is entering his age-30 season.