Positional Analysis: FBs

Fullbacks generally don't get drafted high, but this year there may not be a fullback taken until the second day of the draft. With no experienced fullback on the roster, the Vikings probably will be looking for one on April 27.

VIKINGS FULLBACKS – Jeremy Allen.

VIKINGS DRAFT EXPECTATIONS – With Harold Morrow signing away, the Vikings don't have a veteran fullback on the roster. This should all but assure that the Vikings take a fullback in the draft – perhaps with the sixth-rounder received as compensation from the Saints in the trade that sent Todd Bouman to New Orleans.

THE CLASS OF '03 – Historically, the fullback position has been a mixed bag. Sometimes bigger college RBs are converted to fullbacks in the NFL and other years players like Mike Alstott (not a true NFL fullback) or guys like William "Bar None" Floyd make their way into the second round. No such luck this year. There likely won't be a single fullback taken on the first day and maybe not until as late as the fifth round, which is good news for the Vikings – who didn't intend to use a high pick on fullback anyway despite a need.

DAY TWO PROSPECTS

Ovie Mughelli, Wake Forest, 6-1,250 –
Fifth-year senior…Has added more than 40 pounds of muscle since joining the Demon Deacons in preparation for the NFL…Had 81 carries last year – more than his first three years combined…Big hitter who can also play tight end in two-TE sets…Ideal size/strength ratio for a blocking back…Good short-yardage rusher and receiver…Not a threat to break off a run or reception for big yards…Hates the weight room and lacks upper body strength…A pure fullback in the classic mold and should probably go off the board in the fourth or fifth round.

Casey Moore, Stanford, 6-2, 240 – Fifth-year senior…Took over early in his freshman season and started every game the last four years…A prolific scorer for a fullback, scoring 16 TDs in four years…Good blocking power…Good receiver who has the ideal fit for West Coast Offense use of a fullback…Doesn't excel in any particular area – a good runner, receiver and blocker, but not great or overpowering at any aspect…Viewed by Cardinal coaches as the best Stanford fullback since Tommy Vardell…If a team is looking for a fullback to do a little of everything, he could be the first one off the board late in the fourth round.

Andrew Pinnock, South Carolina, 5-11, 255 – Fourth-year senior who saw a lot of playing time carrying the ball – 350 carries the last three years and a 5-yard-a-carry average…Excellent quickness for a fullback and good speed…Gets good yardage after being hit…Prefers to deliver a blow to defenders…Isn't a great blocker, despite his size…Fumbles far too much to be trusted…Isn't a great lead blocker in short-yardage situations, since he prefers to carry the ball…Hasn't been able to hold on weight – got up to 265 for the post-season All-Star games and then dropped back to 255 at the Combine…Compared favorably to players like Natrone Means and Najeh Davenport, Pinnock has the skills to make a difference for a team like the Vikings, but lack of experience at lead blocking and pass catching will drop him at least into the fifth round.

B.J. Askew, Michigan, 6-2, 241 – Fourth-year senior who came to Michigan as a tailback and moved to FB as a sophomore…Led the team in rushing in 2001 with 902 yards on 199 carries and 10 TDs…As a senior, he was named team MVP, rushing 110 times for 568 yards and six TDs…In the last two years, he caught 62 passes…Has good size-power combination that U of M always seems to find…Isn't an overpowering blocker…A dilemma pick, because he is the RB equivalent to a DE-OLB tweener on defense. He's too slow to be a featured back in the NFL and needs work on his blocking to be a fullback. That will likely drop him into the fifth or sixth round – despite having the pedigree that consistently puts Michigan fullbacks high on draft boards.

Brandon Drumm, Colorado, 6-1, 227 – Fifth-year senior…Pure fullback who caught more passes (38) than had rushes (22)…A mean, punishing blocker who knows his role…Before his senior season, he had his right knee scoped and underwent hernia surgery…Displays power running inside when given the chance…Solid receiver…Doesn't have the leg strength yet to be an NFL fullback and will have to bulk up by at least 20 pounds…If you drafted a guy on heart and intensity, he'd be off the board early. As it is, unless a team is convinced he can add the bulk and strength he's lacking right now, he'll be a hard sell on draft day.

Jeremi Johnson, Western Kentucky, 5-11, 260 – Fourth-year senior who played for Indiana with Antwaan Randle-El before transferring last year…Freshman All-Big 10 selection…Last two years – one with Hoosiers, one with Hilltoppers – he carried 197 times for 1,183 yards and nine TDs, as well as catching 39 passes for 523 yards and three TDs…Very wide frame for a small body…Hasn't missed time with injuries…Has good quickness for a fullback…Didn't always work as hard as coaches thought he should…Doesn't always stay in shape…As a sixth-round prospect goes, keep an eye on this guy. He has the makings of something special if he gets a coach who can focus his energy in the right direction, get him working year-round to refine his skills and be the best fullback he can be. He has more upside than any fullback in this class.

Justin Griffith, Mississippi State, 5-11, 232 – Fifth-year senior…Off-and-on starter who played both tailback and fullback…Had his best rushing season as a senior – 91-471-2 – but his best receiving year as a redshirt freshman – 37-380-2…Extremely powerful in his upper body, he had more reps with 225 pounds at the Combine than any other fullback who tested…Is good in most facets of the game but not outstanding in any single area…Lack of size is a huge drawback…He's very aggressive, but, unless he can add more bulk to go with his strength to meet middle linebackers face up, he will likely drop to the final round of the draft – if he's selected at all. That being said, he could be a prospect that could be a late-round steal if he gets in the right system.


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