Defensive end Paul Kruger has had some football experiences that he will never forget. Such fond memories include being named a Freshman All-American at Utah, as well as being selected by the Baltimore Ravens as the 57th overall player in the 2nd round of the 2009 NFL Draft.
However, the 2nd round draft selection does have a few football related remembrances in which he truly never wants to re-live again. Take for example...one particular play when his Utah Utes took on the visiting Weber State Wildcats on September 27, 2008. Before the play, Kruger did his usual thing, aligning his 6'4, 263 lbs on the flank of the defensive line. During the play, the Weber State Tight End, who was aligned on Kruger's inside shade, performed a down block to try to seal the interior defensive lineman. This would leave the 57th overall pick one on one against the Weber State Wildcat Fullback. Kruger hesitated, but that mistake shouldn't matter, right? I mean, he is a future day one pick, and we're talking about a full back from Weber State here! Wrong. The Wildcat Fullback clashes with Kruger, turns him around, and forces him to the ground. (You can watch this play here: Scroll to 2:31)
So who was the brute player that put the 2nd rounder on his back?
That talent was Weber State Fullback, and undrafted rookie free agent Marcus Malei.
Marcus Mailei signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in late April. Fans of the Eagles will come to love Marcus Mailei, as he is a hard-nosed football player who will lay a shoulder into anyone. What is interesting to note about Mailei is that he wasn't used primarily for running while at Weber State, but for receiving, making 58 catches over the past three collegiate seasons. Andy Reid loves a pass catching back as much as he loves Geno's Steaks.
Below, I have gathered a few rather interesting lists. This should help you get to know the rookie:
NFL Fullback Comparisons:
Interesting (but probably useless) Facts:
Collection of Quotes:
In referring to Marcus Mailei...
"Has a great work ethic. No one will out-work him in the weightroom." - High School Coach Ray Groth.
"He’s going to play a lot of years and last a long time," Weber State Head Coach Ron McBride said. "I’ve had scouts tell me he’s one of the top one or two fullbacks in the country. I haven’t seen a better guy on film as far as doing things we asked him to do."
Veterans on the Roster Who Were Signed As Undrafted Free Agents:
It will be difficult to battle for the fullback position, basically because Leonard Weaver is a great talent and proven fullback. However, Mailei and Eckel should produce a competitive battle for the number two spot. It's key to remember that the Eagles only signed Weaver to a one year deal. If talks with Weaver break down during the off season, Mailei may be the starter next regular season, pending he makes the team. Even if he doesn't make the 53-man roster, he should be able to find his way on the practice squad.
For more highlights of Marcus Mailei, view the following highlight reel: