Draft Preview: Fullbacks

Draft expert Tony Pauline of our sister site DraftInsider.net breaks down the 2015 Fullback class including scouting reports of all the top prospects.



Full Name




Tyler Varga




Jalston Fowler




Aaron Ripkowski




Conner Neighbors




Hunter Joyer




Mark Weisman




Michael Burton




Paul Lasike




Joey Iosefa




Trayion Durham

Kent State



Joey Garside

Wake Forest


Full Name: Michael Burton School: Rutgers

Ht: 5-11.5 Wt: 242 40: 4.65 Year: 5Sr

Bio: Full-time starter the past two seasons. Carried the ball just once as a senior but posted 15 receptions for 150 yards.

Pos: Hard-working lead blocker with limited athleticism. Keeps his head on a swivel, plays with a nasty attitude and accelerates through blocks. Explosive at the point and gets a pad on defenders to disrupt them from their angle of attack. Solid receiver out of the backfield extending his hands to make receptions away from his frame. Displays terrific vision and quickly picks up assignments.

Neg: Lacks the speed and agility necessary to turn the corner or create space for the ball carrier. Average quickness in his overall game.

Analysis: Burton is solid in all aspects of the fullback position but lacks any outstanding physical skill. His competitiveness and football awareness give him an advantage to make a roster that keeps two fullbacks.

Full Name: Trayion Durham School: Kent State

Ht: 5-11.5 Wt: 253 40: 4.72 Year: 4Sr

Bio: Two-year starter who missed all of 2014 with a foot injury. Career highs 1346 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns came during his sophomore campaign.

Pos: Large and athletic college back who may best as a West Coast fullback. Strong, runs North/South and carries defenders for extra yardage. Gets a good head of steam going, displays a solid burst and works runs. Sees the field, picks up blocking assignments and stays with the action.

Neg: Not a creative or elusive runner. Possesses just a short burst, which he cannot sustain. Coming off a serious foot injury.

Analysis: Durham possesses the size and skill to line up as a lead blocker and can produce handling the ball. He would be best served returning to Kent State if afforded the opportunity by the NCAA.

Full Name: Jalston Fowler School: Alabama

Ht: 5-11 Wt: 254 40: 4.84 Year: 5Sr

Bio: Lined up at running back, fullback and H-back for Alabama. Senior totals included 69 yards rushing with 11 receptions for 129 yards.

Pos: Large, rumbling lead blocker also effective catching the ball out of the backfield. Plays faster than his 40 time, quickly gets into pass routes and effectively makes receptions away from his frame. Works runs carrying the ball, finds the cutback lanes and keeps his feet moving on contact. Keeps his head on a swivel in pass protection, squares into defenders and takes them from the action.

Neg: Displays limited speed and quickness in his game. Struggles getting around the corner or creating space as a lead blocker.

Analysis: Fowler consistently produced for Alabama in a variety of ways the past three seasons and projects as a lead blocking fullback who can also be used as a receiver out of the backfield on third down.

Full Name: Joey Iosefa School: Hawaii

Ht: 5-11.5 Wt: 247 40: 4.99 Year: 5Sr

Bio: Three-year starter who’s missed significant time since his sophomore season with a foot injury. Senior totals included a career-best 643 yards rushing and 8 TDs.

Pos: Hard-charging interior runner with potential as a lead blocker. Plays with quickness, tenacious and runs hard. Doles out punishment, rarely brought down by the first defender and does not go down without a fight. Sees the blitz and picks up blocking assignments.

Neg: Runs with an upright style. Lacks the agility and speed necessary to turn the perimeter. Foot injury will raise red flags.

Analysis: Iosefa offers terrific size/speed numbers but has had his progress halted in college by injury. He needs to show durability this summer as well as prove he can catch the ball out of the out of the backfield to stay on a roster.

Full Name: Hunter Joyer School: Florida

Ht: 5-11 Wt: 235 40: 4.72 Year: 4Sr

Bio: Rotational starter last season who did not record any stats. Carried the ball three times for 18 yards as a junior.

Pos: Little used lead fullback with terrific size/speed numbers and underrated football skill. Quick off the snap, accelerates through blocks and squares into opponents. Strong at the point and easily takes defenders from the action. Plays with good knee bend, pad level and works hard to open up running lanes. Shows terrific vision as well as instincts.

Neg: Rarely handle the ball at Florida. Lacks classic size for a lead blocker.

Analysis: Little used at Florida, Joyner has the athletic and football skills to line up as a West Coast fullback in the NFL.

Full Name: Paul Lasike School: BYU

Ht: 5-11.5 Wt: 237 40: 4.80 Year: 4Sr

Bio: Rotated in and out of the line up the past three years. Posted career-best totals of 364 yards rushing and 7 TDs as a senior as well as 25 receptions for 267 yards and 2 TDs.

Pos: Underrated lead blocker with a well-rounded game. Displays good blocking vision, plays with a nasty attitude and quick out to the second level. Explosive at the point, gives effort blocking and chips defenders to disrupt their angle of attack. Solid receiver out of the backfield extending his hands and making receptions away from his frame. Runs hard on the inside showing power and falls forward for extra yardage.

Neg: Struggles finishing blocks. Primarily a one-speed blocker.

Analysis: Lasike is a solid triple-threat fullback who can fill a role in a West Coast offense.

Full Name: Conner Neighbors School: LSU

Ht: 5-10 Wt: 235 40: 4.72 Year: 5Sr

Bio: Started 10 games as a senior after playing seven the prior year. Totaled three carries in his college career and added 11 receptions.

Pos: Nasty, explosive lead blocker with a one-dimensional game. Displays outstanding vision, accelerates into blocks then squares into opponents, turning them from the action. Plays with a nasty attitude, gets after assignments and finishes blocks. Works hard to get a pad on defenders.

Neg: Marginal offensive threat. Shows a lot of stiffness in his game.

Analysis: Neighbors is a throwback type of fullback who can be a devastating lead blocker. He has limitations but would excel as a fullback in short-yardage situations.

Full Name: Aaron Ripkowski School: Oklahoma

Ht: 6-1.5 Wt: 238 40: 4.72 Year: 4Sr

Bio: Part-time starter the past two seasons. Carried the ball a total of six times during his college career and added eight receptions.

Pos: Underutilized college fullback with terrific athleticism and measurables. Displays outstanding blocking vision, squares into opponents and takes them from the action. Bends his knees, displays footwork in pass protection and stays square. Gets his hands into of opponents and anchors at the point of attack. Plays with a nasty attitude working hard to get a pad on defenders. Solid receiver out of the backfield.

Neg: Lacks great size for a lead blocker and struggles finishing blocks. Was a marginal offensive threat for Oklahoma.

Analysis: Ripkowski possesses the skills necessary to be a West Coast fullback at the next level. He’s worth considering in the late rounds and is a solid developmental prospect.
Full Name: Tyler Varga School: Yale

Ht: 5-10.5 Wt: 222 40: 4.64 Year: 4Sr

Bio: Three-year starter awarded All-America and all-conference honors as a senior after totaling 1423 yards rushing and 22 TDs. Also caught 12 passes for 107 yards and four more scores.

Pos: Multi-purpose lead blocker who would be best as a West Coast fullback. Quick out of his stance, immediately gets to top speed and displays a variety of skill carrying the ball. Overpowering and breaks tackles to pick up yardage off initial contact but also shows the ability to make defenders miss. Has a burst through the hole and quickly gets through the clearing. Terrific pass catcher who nicely adjusts to errant passes and makes receptions away from his frame. Vicious lead blocker who attacks opponents, puts his shoulders down and drives through defenders to open up running lanes.

Neg: Lacks classic fullback size. Has struggled with injuries the past two years.

Analysis: Varga is an intense competitor who flourished in every aspect of the game. Performing well at the Senior Bowl, he’s a multipurpose fullback who can be successful in a variety of systems at the next level.

Full Name: Mark Weisman School: Iowa

Ht: 5-11 Wt: 235 40: 4.71 Year: 5Sr

Bio: Three-year starter who began his college career at the Air Force. Posted 812 yards rushing and 16 TDs as a senior after 975 yards and 8 scores the prior year.

Pos: Hard-charging college running back who may be best at fullback in the NFL. Strong, runs through tackles and picks up a lot of yardage off initial contact. Grinds it out on the inside, works runs and falls forward when tackled. Gives effort when asked to block.

Neg: Not a creative ball carrier who’s going to make something out of nothing. Loses momentum changing direction. Must slow down and gathers into cuts. Marginally productive as a receiver.

Analysis: A fan favorite at Iowa, Weisman comes off three productive years. As an NFL prospect he’s a one-dimensional downhill back who may have a place at the next level as a lead blocker and/or short-yardage ball carrier.

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