With Hayden Hurst being the only tight end under contract in 2021, the Atlanta Falcons could use a few additions to the position through the draft and free agency. One name, in particular, should spark the interest of Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot — Delanie Walker. According to Adam Schefter, Walker — who was released by the Titans last March and did not sign with another team for the 2020 season — intends to play again in 2021.
Former Titans' TE Delanie Walker, who took off last season due to COVID and to get 100 percent healthy, intends to play again in 2021, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 3, 2021
The now 35-year-old was named to the Pro Bowl three-straight years from 2015-2017, and Smith was his position coach during those seasons. The veteran tight end played only seven games in 2019, finishing with 21 receptions for 215 yards and two touchdowns — bogged down by lingering injuries. Walker broke his ankle in the season opener the year before, which resulted in him missing the entire 2018 season, but that hasn’t stopped the former Central Missouri Mule from talking to teams. “I’ve been telling teams I’m chilling, I’m taking this time off to let my body heal, and they know what I can do,” Walker explained on The Pat McAfee Show. “I’ll come back next year strong, faster, and healthier, so that’s the plan.”
Walker comes with concerns due to his recent injury history and age; however, many around the league hold him in high regard because of how phenomenal of shape he keeps himself in. Arthur Smith doesn’t need Walker to be what he was in Tennessee, just to play a supplemental role behind Hayden Hurst. We already know about his prowess as a blocker and receiver, especially Smith, who knows exactly what he could get out of Walker.
Fontenot has expressed the importance of finding value in free agency and the draft to build the roster since the team will be so tightly strapped with cash. Walker could be just that for the Falcons — a cheap veteran with recent production and history with Arthur Smith makes for an ideal reunion. Jane Slater even mentioned how Walker had undergone a process with the LSU training staff — one of the top programs in the country. I expect no lingering issues from past injuries, and I expect Fontenot to inquire about Walker.
Another layer, I’m told TE Delanie Walker visited LSU last week and their trainer. It was on the suggestion of Benny Logan, who played there and was on staff last year, to undergo a process that their training staff provides. #comebackszn https://t.co/UwrIW3WPOJ
— Jane Slater (@SlaterNFL) March 3, 2021