PHOENIX – Check the mock drafts, and tight end looks to be a need for the Tennessee Titans.
Check the depth chart, and it’s debatable.
Veteran tight end Delanie Walker is set to return, along with Jonnu Smith. Returning tight ends MyCole Pruitt and Anthony Firkser showed promise for the team in 2018.
So here at the NFL owners meetings, General Manager Jon Robinson was presented the question: Do the Titans need more help at tight end? Keep in mind former Titans tight end Luke Stocker joined the Falcons earlier this month.
“I think there’s some guys in the draft, some guys that are still kind of floating around in free agency, that we have kind of kicked around, have some ideas about,” Robinson said. “I think with Delanie coming back, with Jonnu still coming back from injury, a couple of other guys had a couple of things.
“I think it is really more from a numbers standpoint, for practice and OTAs than needing ‘a guy.’ I like the guys that we have. But certainly if we can add somebody that can create some competition there, that’s not a bad thing.”
Walker’s 2018 season ended when he suffered a broken ankle in Week One at Miami.
Walker was voted as a captain by his teammates before the start of the season. He was named to his third straight Pro Bowl in 2017 after he led the team with 74 receptions for 807 yards and three touchdowns.
The Titans expect Walker to be ready for the 2019 season, but it remains to be seen how the team will work him into the offseason work. Players are scheduled to report for the offseason program on April 15.
The bulk of the offseason work will take place in May and June, with training camp set for the end of July.
“I think ‘expect’ is a strong word,” Robinson said of the April 15 date, and Walker. “I think Delanie knows his body. Delanie has played a lot of snaps in this league, a lot of meaningful snaps, a lot of winning snaps in this league. I think he, like a lot of our veteran guys, we’ll be mindful and let their bodies tell us when they’re ready.”
As for whether the Titans could make mock draft gurus look smart by picking a tight end at No.19 in the first round of the NFL Draft, Robinson offered a coy smile.
In the most recent mock draft roundup on Titans Online, 25% of the mock drafts (five of 20) had the Titans taking a tight end – either Noah Fant or T.J. Hockenson from Iowa.
“I don’t know. We’ll see how it goes,” Robinson said as he headed into a session on Monday morning. “There’s some tight ends that are certainly worthy of going up there in the first round.
“Whether that’s the direction we go in or not, it’s to be determined.”