Fullbacks

Class Review: Last year's draft class had five fullbacks taken. This year's class will likely exceed that total. The top prospect is Najeh Davenport, who is the only likely fullback to be chosen on the first day. Behind Davenport are some solid talents, but no one special. Jamar Martin (Ohio State), Jarrod Baxter (New Mexico), Will Bartholomew, and Charles Stackhouse (Ole Miss) seem to be the best of the 2nd tier guys. After them it's a crapshoot, and whoever gets drafted will not be who the best player is, but which players fit certain teams' schemes the best. Any number of players could fill out the final two rounds of the draft, with guys like Rock Cartwright, Chad Kuhns (Wisconsin), and Jeremy Allen as the likley favorites to be selected.



SECOND ROUND


Najeh Davenport
(6'1" 248) Miami (Fla.) (4.45)

Davenport is developed better physically than most rookie fullbacks. He's probably the best fullback to enter the draft since Rob Konrad in 2000. Davenport is not a great lead blocker, but can get the job done. He still needs some work, but he should immediately step into a role similar to Zack Crockett. He is a good runner with good speed and vision. He can be a solid short-yardage or complementary runner to a halfback. As experience accumulates, he should become a better lead blocker, thus being a complete fullback. He has good potential and upside to become one of the best fullbacks in the league, if not the best.


FIFTH ROUND


Will Bartholomew
(5'11" 243) Tennessee (4.55)

Bartholomew has good skills. He's a good all-around fullback. He doesn't do anything exceedingly well, but he is good at all aspects of being an NFL fullback. He is a solid lead blocker, if not great. He has good hands and is pretty good at blitz pickup. He really just needs experience and he should develop into a fine NFL starter. But he probably will never be a top fullback in this league, just an average to above average starter.


SIXTH ROUND


Rock Cartwright
(5'8" 237) Kansas State (4.45)

Rod "Rock" Cartwright has some skills to develop as a fullback. He is an average lead blocker, but is physical so makes up for it. But he has room to grow. He has good speed and can be a nice inside runner on the next level. His height is odd for a fullback, so so teams may look at him as a pumped up halfback. But he's probably not going to succeed at that position, because his running skills are not anything special. He will have some years to develop as a backup, and then could make his move into a starting lineup.


SEVENTH ROUND


Jeremy Allen
(5'11" 241) Iowa (4.6)

Allen is still developing as a fullback. His lead blocking skills need some work if he wants to be a starting fullback in the NFL. He has nice skills as both a runner and receiver, and can be a potent offensive weapon if he continues in those areas. His athleticism is a plus. Probably fits better as a one-back than fullback right now.

Rob Roberts
(6'2" 255) Florida (5.0)

Roberts was mainly a lead blocker at Florida in a minimized role. He did a good job in that role. He is tough and physical. Does not particularly translate that to his running skills, which are minimal. Roberts will be a good lead blocker in the NFL in the mold of Sam Gash. Like Gash, Roberts' role in the passing and running game should be minimized. His lack of playing time might keep from being drafted, but he is good enough to go in the last round.

Joe Hall
(6'1" 277) Kansas State (5.0)

Hall is a massive player. Huge fullbacks have intrigued NFL scouts over the past few years, but few have impressed teams enough to stick on the roster for long. Look at Ja'Mar Toombs among others. Wes Ours is the best known example. Hall can be a very physical lead blocker, and he can do some things as a receiver out the backfield. He is awfully light on his feet for a player his size. Most teams dislike fullbacks or runners who are over 265, so teams will probably ask him to shed some pounds. When you're this big, severe weight fluctuations become a problem.


UNDRAFTED


Kyle Johnson
(6' 240) Syracuse (4.75)

He still has a lot of room to grow as a fullback. He is better runner than blocker. But his running skills are not that special. Has decent speed and hands, but not special in those areas either. Is not as physical as you want in a fullback. He will likely have to make it as a special teamer in the NFL.

Casey Moore
(6'2" 235) Stanford (4.7)

Moore does not stand out as a fullback. He has decent skills. He is an average lead blocker and his hands are average at best. But he has some potential, but I doubt he will ever be more than a backup who will make his due on special teams.


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