POSITION ANALYSIS - FB

Before the start of the free agency signing period on Feb. 28, we will examine every position on the Dolphins, grade each player's performance in the 2002 season and evaluate the prospects for the 2003 season. We continue this series with the fullbacks.

2002 SEASON RECAP

Rob Konrad — The arrival of Norv Turner as offensive coordinator greatly increased Konrad's role in the offense, and he responded with a performance that had some talking Pro Bowl for the former second-round pick. Konrad again was a non-factor as a runner, but he was a weapon in the passing game and actually probably should have been used more often than he was. His blocking continues to improve, even if he probably will never be confused for a Lorenzo Neal or somebody like that. Grade: B+

Deon Dyer — It was more of the same in 2002 for Dyer. That means he was used occasionally in short-yardage situations as a blocker and never saw the ball. There actually were some games in 2002 when Dyer was put on the inactive list. It was difficult for Dyer to really shine given his limited role, but he generally did what was asked of him. Grade: B

OUTLOOK FOR 2003

The Dolphins took care of one of their fullbacks already this offseason by re-signing Dyer, who was scheduled to become a restricted free agent. Now, they must turn their attention to Konrad, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent and could get some interest. The Dolphins have indicated they want Konrad back, and that certainly makes sense considering he's about to enter his prime and he fits the offense perfectly. This is one case where both sides need each other, so one would think and hope that a deal can be reached. The Dolphins also re-signed Obafemi Ayanbadejo, who was brought in last summer and was once seen as a threat to beat out Konrad as the starter. It's clear by now that Konrad is the better player, but Ayanbadejo could become an important guy if Konrad winds up leaving because it's hard to envision Dyer being a starter in Turner's offense. Should the Dolphins lose Konrad and decide to go shopping for a fullback in free agency, one potential target could be New England's Marc Edwards, who's another solid pass catcher. But the priority here is to re-sign Konrad and keep the status quo at a position that produced in 2002.


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