Draft 2002: Looking at the Fullbacks

<P><STRONG>Jarrod Baxter, New Mexico </STRONG>(6-1, 245 lbs., 4.68) Baxter has decent hands and is more of a running fullback than most of the players available at this position.

He is a tough inside runner with enough speed to turn the corner and gain yardage outside. His ability to pickup the blitz seemed to be much improved at the Senior Bowl. He has good initial pop when blocking, but struggles to hold his blocks at times.

Baxter has a very good combination of size and athleticism for a fullback, which seems to be the current trend of fullbacks in the NFL. Ideally, he fits best in a West Coast style offense that likes to use its fullback as an offensive weapon because to this point he is not an attacking style lead blocker like Sam Gash, but rather more of a Robert Holcombe-like (Rams) performer.

Baxter has the ability to gain yards between the tackles and might surprise some people thanks to his soft hands.

Najeh Davenport, Miami (6-2, 246, 4.55) -- Davenport is a big back with above-average speed. He runs with solid power, but needs refinement in a lot of areas. His durability is the biggest question mark that surrounds his upside potential; since there is not another fullback available that possesses the type of ball skills that Davenport has. It is totally possible that someone may in fact draft him and move him back to running back - where he could end up being quite similar to former NFL RB Lorenzo White.

Verron Haynes, Georgia (5-10, 228 lbs., 4.60) -- Haynes began this season as a little-known reserve that was stuck behind a group of former highly regarded recruits. He has shown decent hands out of the backfield and puts a helmet on opposing linebackers when asked to be a lead blocker. Overall, Haynes is well suited to join a West Coast style offense, but could also be an effective #3 back that can backup at both running back and fullback.

Will Bartholomew, Tennessee (6-0, 246, 4.59) -- Bartholomew is a well-built blocker that has impressed scouts with his all-around athleticism. He did 35 reps of 225 pounds, while showing impressive speed and a 38" vertical. While not being much of a pass catching threat he is a good inside runner and usually does a solid effort blocking, but needs to improve his overall consistency.

 Jamar Martin, Ohio State (5-11, 245 lbs., 4.69) -- Martin is solid in all phases of the game, but not spectacular. He can run inside, catch passes out of the backfield, and is a sound lead blocker.

Charles Stackhouse, Mississippi (6-2, 252 lbs., 4.83) -- Stackhouse is a solid inside runner that has grown into a full-sized fullback. He is solid in pass protection, while also being a willing run blocker. His ability to catch the ball out of the backfield is an added bonus.

Jeremy Allen, Iowa (6-0, 241 lbs., 4.59) -- Allen is a nice sized fullback that shows good initial pop, but does not hold his run blocks long enough. He has very good hands out of the backfield, above-average speed for the position and has done well when given the chance to run with the ball.

Rock Cartwright, Kansas State (5-8, 233 lbs., 4.47) -- Cartwright is an excellent power runner that is tough to see/tackle inside. He is a strong, but inconsistent blocker that can occasionally blow up defenders. His attitude and work ethic will also lead to him becoming a valuable special teams performer. In fact, he has the ideal size to become a wedge buster on the kickoff coverage squad.

Tyree Foreman, Virginia (5-10, 230 lbs., 4.60) -- Foreman is a great blocking back. He has seldom seen the ball either receiving or running, but will plow into defenders and open holes. His impressive Blue/Gray workouts opened the eyes of several scouts that saw him catch the ball and gain yards on several draw plays.

Kyle Johnson, Syracuse (6-1, 242 lbs, 4.74) -- Johnson is a nice sized FB that has decent hands and carries the ball well. He has some initial pop on his blocks, but does not drive defenders out of the hole. His quickness allows him to gain yards between the tackles, but he has some durability and injury questions.

"Sleeper" Ed Stansbury, UCLA (6-0, 248 lbs., 4.66) -- Stansbury has excellent size for a fullback. He will have to polish his blocking skills and settle his hands, since he made a late transition to fullback from linebacker. His size, speed and intangibles could make him ideal backup and special teams player.

John Murphy, is the editor of www.draft2002.com and Director of Scouting and Evaluation for NL Sports. Be sure to check out the most in-depth, up-to-the-minute 2002 NFL Draft website and you can also email your draft questions to John from the www.draft2002.com website. This is the first in a series of draft reports by position that he will be providing for us. The top prospect at each position will be highlighted followed by a complete look at the position's other top prospects.

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