Yesterday's matchup was another big time blowout. Fortunately, we've powered through our last 1-8 matchup of the tournament. Today's matchup should be far more interesting. Two vital pieces of the franchise during two completely different times face off:
(4) Delanie Walker: This has been the franchise's best free agent pickup in recent memory, arguably in history. Delanie Walker has been a huge piece on Titans offenses for 3 years and counting. Even in a poor situation around him, Walker has thrived. He's emerged as one of the best tight ends in the league, and has set franchise records for the position. Also, with the addition of Marcus Mariota, he brings the "safety net" factor for the young quarterback, just as Frank Wycheck did for Steve McNair. Not only does he make plays consistently in the passing game, he also is one of the better blocking tight ends in the league. Off the field, he brings much needed veteran leadership to the locker room, and to the tight end room, which is one of the best in the league. Being the total package, Delanie Walker has been an absolute all-star since coming to Nashville.
(5) Brad Hopkins: In a run-heavy scheme, left tackle was an absolutely vital piece for some of the early 2000's Titans offenses. A common saying around the league is that left tackle is the second most position on offense, only behind quarterback. They have to hold off the top edge rushers on each respective team week in, and week out. In today's league, there is much more disguise, moving around, and mismatches that are created, making right tackle just as important as left. This increases the stock of a Brad Hopkins, who did not have that luxury. He was a classic left tackle in every sense. Being the key piece of those Titans' offensive lines, the unit thrived. Hopkins protected Steve McNair's blind side and gave him time, which helped his development skyrocket, and paved the way for a vicious rushing attack with Eddie George. Without Brad Hopkins, none of this happens.
My vote: While Brad Hopkins was a key piece of some early Titans teams, Delanie Walker's stock as a Titan is continuing to skyrocket. Even on some bad teams with bad quarterback play, he continues to be the main bright spot. Also, he is the most prolific player at his position in Titans history, which gives him another bump. He gets the vote.