49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

March 12, 2013
Tight end fade: Delanie Walker bolts for Tennessee

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Add tight end to the 49ers' offseason to-do list.

Their No. 2 player at the position, Delanie Walker, has agreed to a four-year deal with the Tennessee Titans, his agent, Vincent Taylor, said today. Appearing on 95.7 The Game Tuesday, Walker said the Cardinals, Eagles and Bills also showed interest and that the 49ers also wanted to re-sign him. But he said he knew he'd never be anything more than a No. 2 tight end as long as his buddy, Vernon Davis, is on the roster

"I felt like it was my time to be a starter," he said. Walker has been one of the best blocking tight ends -- especially down field -- in the NFL in recent years, and he gained an increasing role in the 49ers' passing attack once Colin Kaepernick took over at quarterback from Alex Smith.

How the 49ers compensate for Walker's loss remains to be seen. He lined up in an array of positions, sometimes in the backfield, sometimes as a wide receiver in the slot. New acquisition Anquan Boldin can perform some of those functions. He is an excellent blocker and is unafraid to catch passes over the middle of a defense.

The 49ers currently have one other tight end, Garrett Celek, on the roster. They also have the No. 31 and No. 34 picks in the draft, which is usually when the first tight ends are taken. The top two this year are Stanford's Zach Ertz, who was recruited by Jim Harbaugh, and Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert.

The 49ers will visit Tennessee in 2013, something Walker definitely has noted. "That was the first game I saw," he said with a laugh. "Every other game was blurred."

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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