Matthew Judon has never had to shadow Delanie Walker before, but the Ravens outside linebacker could get well acquainted with the Tennessee Titans tight end on Sunday.
Walker is tied for sixth among NFL tight ends in catches with 32, leads Tennessee in targets with 49, and ranks second in yards with 324. Although a sprained right ankle prevented Walker from practicing Wednesday and Thursday and kept him to limited participation Friday, Judon said he fully expects Walker to play and is studying how to interrupt his rapport with quarterback Marcus Mariota.
“I want to try to get my hands on him and disrupt the timing of his routes,” said Judon, who is the outside linebacker most adept at dropping back into coverage. “But he’s been doing this a long time, and he’s a crafty veteran. So I just have to study his movements and just continue with my technique and hopefully that pays off.”
Despite Walker’s 6-foot-2, 248-pound frame, strong safety Tony Jefferson said Walker poses a threat in the Titans’ passing attack.
“He can block like a tight end, but on his routes, he’s a receiver,” Jefferson said, adding that Walker reminds him of former Maryland standout Vernon Davis. “He can do every route in the route tree. He’s strong, physical. … The guy can run and go up and get the ball. He’s got great hands.”
The Ravens rank in the middle of the pack in terms of catches and yards surrendered to opposing tight ends. But the defense has allowed six touchdown receptions to tight ends, which is tied for the second-highest mark in the league.
Still, Judon said he is looking forward to matching up with Walker.
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“I always feel confident when I’m on the field,” he said. “I know that my teammates have got my back. Obviously, we are imperfect as humans, and I might make a mistake. But I know I can bounce back from it, and as long as my teammates have got my back, I’ll be fine.”