Grading the Seahawks at midseason: FBs Derrick Coleman & Will Tukuafu

With the Seahawks off this week on bye and the club's regular season at the halfway point, it is a logical time for midseason grades.

Each position is assigned a classic "A-F" grade as is each individual player. A's are rewarded for exemplary Pro Bowl-caliber play. B's are given for very good to good play - better than the league average. C's are given for average play and D's for significantly below average play. Failing grades are reserved for players who, frankly, shouldn't be on the roster. 

The quarterbacks and running backs were graded earlier. Next up are Seahawks fullbacks, Derrick Coleman and Will Tukuafu 

Fullback: As I mentioned in the quarterback report card, comparing Seattle's offense to some of the more explosive passing attacks in the NFL isn't really an apples-to-apples comparison. Some of that is due to the unique strengths (and weaknesses) of Russell Wilson. Much more is due to Pete Carroll's (and by extension offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell's) belief in the traditional "pro-style" offense that utilizes the fullback rather than an extra wide receiver. 

The traditional fullback role of a human sledgehammer as a lead blocker has gone the way of the dinosaurs for most of the NFL. Take a look at NFL rosters, only a few teams have even one. The Seahawks have two and the club has carried Coleman and Tukuafu the entire year. Their size, physicality and versatility is integral to Seattle's current standing as the league's No. 2 rated rushing attack. 

From both an alphabetical and depth chart perspective, Coleman deserves mentioning first. 

At 6-0, 233 pounds, Coleman is your prototypical lead blocker, sporting a compact, muscular frame, the vision and aggression to seek out linebackers and enough juice in his legs to occasionally run the ball or catch a pass out of the backfield. He is not, however, a dynamic athlete. To this point in the season, Coleman has just one carry and one catch for a grand total of two combined yards. A bizarre car accident and the resulting concussion that came with it not only was a public relations hit for the organization but it made Coleman unavailable against the Carolina Panthers. The Seahawks missed him significantly, with Marshawn Lynch averaging just 3.2 yards per carry in that contest and Seattle's offense failing to convert third downs in the fourth quarter, leading to the Panthers' stunning come-from-behind victory at CenturyLink.  

Coleman's value lies not only with his lead blocking but also his play on special teams. 

Of course, versatility is precisely what Tukuafu - a human Swiss Army knife who has seen action at fullback, tight end, defensive end and on special teams - offers to the Seahawks. 

At 6-2, 280 pounds, Tukuafu is built more like a chest freezer than a traditional fullback or running back like the faster and niftier Coleman. Because of his massive size and aggression, Tukuafu can be a punishing lead blocker who is quite effective in short yardage situations. He's at his best, however, rushing directly upfield. The further he's asked to run, the more his lack of straight-line speed and agility show up, as was the case in a nearly disastrous rushing attempt for Lynch in the red zone last week prior to Steven Hauschka's game-winning field goal against the Dallas Cowboys

Tukuafu, frankly, isn't as good a fullback as Coleman. His ability to play multiple roles well enough, however, saves Seattle roster spots and therefore boosts his grade. 

Derrick Coleman: C

Will Tukuafu: C

Positional Grade: C


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