if people are advocating for us to cut or trade him because we draft Fleener then they are just plain crazy, Walker will be on this team in 2012, its 2013 that is up in the air. Here is my take....
Reasons why Walker should be replaced as TE:
Not the best hands
Inability to over power most safeties in a smilar manner a larger TE can
Reasons why we would draft Fleener a year before Walker's deal expires
We did the same thing with Aldon, one year before Brooks' deal was done, it just worked out that were phasing out Haralson instead of replacing Brooks
Walker is not a real TE, he is an H-back if not actually a FB or WR. He is a tweener in every sense of the word, 6 feet even, 250 pounds(a lot of the newer look RB/FBs are this size), he isn't fast enough to be a WR but he was fast enough to be converted to a TE instead of a FB/RB(pretty much the definition of a H-Back)
Will we make an effort to re-sign Walker if we draft Fleener? Of course we will, having 3 starting caliber TEs is better then having 2. Just like having 3 starting caliber OLBs is better then having 2 had we let Brooks walk.
Will Walker test the market next year regardless of the possibility of us drafting Fleener? Of course he will, he has shown flashes that he can be the #1 TE for any team in the NFL, at the very least he could go be the #2 of not #1b to a team like Chicago whose primary TE Kellen Davis is a bit on the slow side and not able to take advantage of playing slower OLBs and Safeties.
What all this boils down to? If Fleener is there at 30 you can bet your a** we will draft him, will we trade up for him? I'd say no, but if he is there he is the best possible pick for us due to his knowledge of the system, his physical size and leaping ability and great hands instantly upgrade our passing attack in all areas of the field and gameplay. It also provides us with insurance against DWalk leaving in FA just as Aldon did with Brooks potentially leaving.
I reiterate, his versatility as a TE, WR, RB, FB, OL, KR makes him nearly irreplaceable so the FO will likely value him fairly high and he'll likely be retained, but to stubbornly insist we shouldn't draft Fleener simply because DWalk is on the roster is just plain dumb, that is comparable to saying we have a serviceable if not pro bowl caliber Center so we shouldn't draft a backup or plan B even though he is old and on short term deal.
As JH says you never stay the same, you are either getting worse or getting better. If we dont add Fleener we'd effectively get worse, if we add him we get better, if we retain DWalk after the year then we will be better then we were going into the 2013 off season. Make sense?
[ Edited by sfout on Apr 14, 2012 at 5:21 PM ]