TRAINING CAMP PREVIEW: TIGHT ENDS
In camp: Delanie Walker, Jonnu Smith, Luke Stocker, Phillip Supernaw, Tim Semisch, Ethan Wolf, Anthony Firkser.
Offseason developments: Walker played in his third straight Pro Bowl after last season, and he's shown no signs of slowing down this offseason. Smith enjoyed a solid offseason, and Stocker has looked even more comfortable as he starts his second season with the team. Supernaw was sidelined for offseason work. Wolf, who played collegiately at the University of Tennessee, was signed as an undrafted free agent. Firkser, who played at Harvard, earned a spot on the roster after a nice performance during a tryout in May.
In the spotlight: Walker. Walker led the Titans in catches (74) and receiving yards (807) last season, and he's looked as hungry as ever heading into his 13th NFL season. In OTAs he was diving for balls and making contested catches. He's once again kept himself in great shape. It remains to be seen just how much the tight end position is utilized in Matt LaFleur's offense, but look for Walker to be up for any challenges thrown his way. He's this team's best tight end – and one of the best in the NFL -- until proven otherwise.
Battle to watch: Supernaw vs. Wolf vs. Semisch. Smith is next in line behind Walker, and Stocker fits what the team is looking for at the position. The eighth-year veteran is a good blocker and a dependable pro, and he'll enter camp now as my favorite to land the No.3 spot at the position. Supernaw has some catching up to do after missing the offseason work, and he'll need to be consistent in his work. Wolf has to prove he can be a capable blocker to give himself a chance, while Semisch needs to show improvement and consistency across the board. He has some talent, no doubt, but he has his work cut out for him. Will the Titans keep four tight ends? To me, that's the biggest question.
Keep an eye on: Smith. I thought Smith held his own as a rookie, when he caught 18 passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns. He caught the ball when it was thrown his way, and he held up as a blocker. Will he get an extended role in Year 2? Well, his snaps should go up as he earns the trust of those around him. Folks ask me all the time if he's ready to emerge as more of a go-to guy as Walker approaches his 34th birthday. Well, the young guy is going to get his chances, but Walker isn't going down without a fight. Expect both of them to have key roles.
Next up: Offensive line.
TitansOnline.com looks back at TE Delanie Walker's 2018 offseason. (Photos: Donn Jones, Gary Glenn, AP)