October 24, 2014

The 2011 Bengals: FB

Now that we are past the NFL draft, I can take an early assessment of where we are as a team before the end of the lockout and eventual start of free agency. Today, I will look at the fullback position.

Chris Pressley, Fui Vakapuna, and James Develin are the guys on the offseason roster. Pressley played in seven games last season and appears to be the incumbent, but Vakapuna showed promise before an injury derailed his season. Note that halfback Brian Leonard and the tight ends played this role at times under Bob Bratkowski.

Best case scenario: The new Jay Gruden offense doesn’t require a fullback to be effective on the ground.

Worst case scenario: We can’t generate a running game without a fullback clearing the way, yet the guys we have on the roster can’t get it done.

Another Possibility: Unlikely, but perhaps someone decent gets caught in a numbers crunch and gets cut. They may also have someone in mind as an undrafted free agent, but they won’t be able to sign them until the CBA mess is resolved.

Outlook: Rex Ryan stole my guy, John Connor from Kentucky, in last year’s draft and there aren’t a lot of great ones to begin with. While I can’t imagine Gruden doing a lot of two back sets, I recall how effective Mike Alstott was back in the day for the Bucs. It seems that an H-back is going to be the most likely scenario, where a tight end moves in to block on running plays. Marvin Lewis loves guys that can play multiple spots, so Brian Leonard may be in play here as well. Of the fullbacks listed on the offseason roster, the best of the bunch is Vakapuna.