TE Delanie Walker, #46
San Francisco 49ers
Height: 6-1 1/8 Weight: 242 Speed: 4.54
Notes: Was selected in the sixth round of the 2006 NFL draft by the 49ers after a standout career at Central Missouri State. Has been a consistent contributor since he arrived, starting 36 of the 86 games in which he has played the past seven seasons and catching 104 passes for 1,129 yards and five touchdowns (10.9-yard average) with a career-best campaign of 29-331-0 in 2010 during Mike Singletary’s final year as head coach. In July 2008, Walker signed a three-year, $6 million extension through 2012.
Positives: Very well-sculpted with thick musculature. Looks every bit the part — likes the weight room and it shows. Tough and fearless entering traffic. Strong on contact and can maintain balance after the catch and power through arm tackles. Highly competitive with the ball in his hands and does not go down easy. Strong red-zone target. Excellent speed for his size (converted college receiver) — can stretch the seam and beat man coverage. Can swing his hips and seal edges. Functional base blocker in pass protection. Extremely versatile — has lined up at TE, WR, RB, FB, H-back and OLT positions and has handled a variety of assignments, including as a kickoff returner. Very hardworking and committed.
Negatives: Has never been a full-time starter and has modest career production. Is not a precise route runner — will flag routes and give up break points. Can improve hand use beating the jam. Hands are not natural — tends to body and double-catch the ball. Average awareness adjusting to the ball downfield. Could be more urgent and disciplined in his blocking approach — can be late to locate his target and get beat to a spot. Can be overloaded by a complex playbook and is best functioning with simplified assignments.
Summary: Operating from the shadows of Vernon Davis, the game’s most explosive, physically gifted tight end, Walker has quietly emerged as a very solid, jack-of-all-trades, hybrid contributor in Jim Harbaugh’s offense. Factors primarily as a No. 2 tight end and on special teams, and possesses the physical skill set capable of contributing in a variety of roles. Is best utilized running underneath crossers that accentuate his run strength and blocking on the move in an H-back capacity.