Conner figures to get plenty of action in special teams and perhaps some reps late in the game if there are any blowouts or games out of reach.
Daniel Mogollon, president of NFLDraftBible.com and College Football Insiders founder joins GreenAndWhiteReport.com for another "In-Focus" look at the fifth round pick out of the SEC. Mogollon has also broken down Kyle Wilson, Vlad Ducasse and Joe McKnight in previous interviews.
This is part two of our analysis and is just insider information, exclusively for subscribers to GreenAndWhiteReport.com. Enjoy!
GreenAndWhiteReport.com: Will Connor be a factor as a pass catcher?
DM: Not if Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, and Dustin Keller have something to say about it. Sanchez will have a lot of people to keep happy and the rookie backup fullback will not be high in the pecking order. I know I stated earlier when we were talking about Joe McKnight that the Jets would probably like to get their backs more involved in the passing game…I didn't mean the fullbacks.
Last year Richardson had just three receptions and Conner had only five as a senior for the Kentucky Wildcats—partially because of UK's offense—so I wouldn't expect much from him in terms of catching the ball out of the backfield this season. He does appear to have soft, reliable hands so his role as a pass catcher could expand over the years.
GreenAndWhiteReport.com: How about as a runner?
DM: Again, I wouldn't expect much in year one but he could get some touches here and there. Conner was pretty effective in 31 carries for UK last season, averaging over five yards per carry. He's a physical runner who runs low to the ground and has a good forward lean with impeccable ball security and some upside as a short-yardage back.
Nevertheless, in the NFL the fullback is typically used like another offensive lineman and the Jets are no different. Richardson only carried the ball seven times in 2009 and even though he did some damage (6.9 yards per carry) it didn't translate to a bigger role in the offense. With Greene, McKnight, and LaDainian Tomlinson in play, that won't change much in 2010. The role of the fullback will be simple—open up holes for the running backs on rushing plays and keep Mr. Sanchez upright on passing downs.
GreenAndWhiteReport.com: What are Conner's strengths?
DM: He's a blocker, pure and simple.
That's the only reason a fullback gets selected in the NFL Draft (which isn't often). The Jets didn't get him to catch or run the football. Perhaps he'll get a couple of surprise touches as a token courtesy or to keep the defense off balance, but his job is to put a hat on a hat. At 5'11" and 246 pounds he has the prototypical build and bulk for a fullback.
You don't want them to be too long and at just under 6'0" he should be able to get low and maintain leverage when engaged. Conner has the size necessary to drive through his blocks in the running game and the nimble feet to move laterally in pass protection. He has good vision, is alert when it comes to picking up the blitz, and possesses pretty good straight-line speed (4.64 40-yard dash) for his size.
In addition, the former walk-on also displayed some impressive leadership skills during his time in Lexington. Make sure to check out www.NFLDraftBible.com for regular analysis and breaking news on the NFL, college football and the draft.