Who Will Emerge at Fullback?

The Cardinals enter training camp seeking a quality lead blocker for Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower.

The Arizona Cardinals have gone through fullbacks like candy in recent years, with Terrelle Smith and Dan Kreider starting each of the past two seasons. The Cardinals should attempt to find some consistency at the position in 2010 as they have a wide open competition with three prime candidates.

The pre-training camp favorite might be Reagan Maui'a. The Hawaii product spent time on the roster towards the end of training camp in 2009, before being released and signed to a future contract in January. Maui'a was Miami's starting fullback in 2007, but lost the job the following season. He spent time with Cincinnati in 2008, starting a handful of games before being released once again. Maui'a (6-foot-0, 260 pounds) has been touted as a devastating run blocker, but criticized for his weakness in pass protection. Maui'a was a YouTube sensation in college, running through a weight room wall at full speed. Arizona hopes he can bring that same intensity to its backfield.

Nehemiah Broughton is another contender at fullback. He rebounded from a torn ACL in 2007, spending parts of his first three seasons in Washington. From that point, Broughton was a member on the practice squads of Carolina, Minnesota and the New York Giants. The Citadel alum was brought in late last season when Kreider was injured and was serviceable in his brief opportunity. Broughton (5-foot-11, 257 pounds) is a blue-collar player at a blue-collar position, which is why he has continued to stick around the league. If Broughton performs well in training camp, he has a chance to break into the Cardinals' starting lineup.

The final entrant in the fullback sweepstakes is Charles Ali. The Arkansas-Pine Bluff alum broke into the NFL in 2007 as an undrafted free agent with Cleveland, playing in 13 games over two seasons. The Browns cut Ali in 2009 and he went to play for the UFL's New York Sentinels. After a short stint in Baltimore, Arizona signed Ali in May to compete for the starting job. Ali (6-foot-2, 260 pounds) is a load out of the backfield and has made his career being a reliable lead blocker. Ali is expected to get a lot of repetitions in the preseason to prove his worth.

Depending on Jason Wright's role in the backfield chronicled HERE, Arizona could keep just one fullback on the 53-man roster when the season starts. Coach Ken Whisenhunt and his staff will be looking at every piece of camp and the preseason in order to get the right player into the starting position.

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