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Is it possible to animate textures and then control them with a bone or empty? I want to animate eye textures blinking and looking in different directions etc. by of course drawing the frames. is there a way to control them like shape keys with bones and drivers?

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You could put a Driver on the Mapping/Offset of an image texture that copies its value from a controlling empty or bone.

Here is a screenshot that shows such a rig. Notice that the X offset is purple (meaning it is controlled by a driver) and you can see the driver in the curves window configured to copy the minimum value from the Empty object's X Location in World space.

screenshot of driver controlling texture's X offset

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