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2013 NFL Free Agency: Potential Giants' target -- Delanie Walker, TE, San Francisco 49ers

If the Giants have to replace tight end Martellus Bennett next season could Delanie Walker of the San Francisco 49ers be an option? Let's take a closer look at Walker.

Delanie Walker
Delanie Walker
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Whether they want to or not, the New York Giants might end up having to find a replacement for free-agent tight end Martellus Bennett. One recognizable name among tight ends likely to be available on the free-agent market next month is Delanie Walker of the San Francisco 49ers.

Is the 28-year-old Walker, a seven-year NFL veteran a fit for the Giants? David Fucillo, editor of SB Nation's Niners Nation, gave us a detailed breakdown of Walker's capabilities:

Role: The 49ers coaching staff loves their tight ends and used two tight end sets regularly as part of their base offensive set. Walker was drafted the same year as Vernon Davis, and has been in his shadow ever since. Walker seemed to get more looks from Colin Kaepernick during the regular season, but Vernon Davis regained his mantle as the go-to guy during the playoffs.

Strengths: Walker's greatest strength comes in his ability to do a variety of things well. His role throughout the Jim Harbaugh era has been a guy who you can place almost anywhere on the field. He has lined up at the traditional tight end spot next to one of the tackles. He has lined up in virtually every wide receiver spot, and the 49ers have even used him in an h-back role in the backfield at times. He is a very solid blocker, and he can make some spectacular catches.

Weaknesses: He struggles at times to make the basic catches. Most teams have had a player who fits that mold where he makes spectacular catches look easy, but then has so many sure things bounce off his hands. That's Delanie Walker and it will drive you crazy. He is a guy who thus far has been a complement to Vernon Davis. He has shown an ability to make some big plays, but he has not shown enough to indicate he could be the big-time tight end to help carry an offense. But maybe getting off on his own can help him.

Likelihood to test market: I don't see him re-signing before free agency starts, as I have to think he wants to test his value. I think the 49ers would be inclined to look at a tight end in the draft if Walker is asking for more than they're willing to pay. The 49ers do need tight ends, but they are not in a position to overpay Walker to keep him in town. I think right now the odds are 50-50 he is gone because I honestly do not know how other teams will value a guy who has spent his career as a backup to Vernon Davis.

Walker, 6-foot-1, 241 pounds was originally a wide receiver. He has also played fullback for San Francisco as well as tight end. He is an able blocker, as evidenced by the +8.9 run-blocking score he received from Pro Football Focus in 2012.

Walker cannot, however, replace Bennett or any of the tight ends the Giants have employed in recent years (Jake Ballard and Kevin Boss) as a receiving threat. His career-high in receptions is 29. In 2012 he caught 21 passes, three for touchdowns.

If the Giants are forced to replace Bennett, Walker does not seem like a likely candidate even though he isn't likely to be expensive. The Giants have had success with unheralded players like Ballard and Boss, and might choose to bring in a younger, unproven player they believe has some upside. They may also give an opportunity to 2012 fourth-round draft choice Adrien Robinson, or turn to the 2013 NFL Draft for help.

Your thoughts, Giants' fans?