One of the biggest news items to come out of Doug Pederson's media session at the NFL owners meetings this year had to do with one of the least heralded positions in football: the fullback. According to Pederson, the Philadelphia Eagles might carry a fullback on the roster this year after not doing so since Stanley Havili was on the team in 2012.
"My style of run will be a little different than say what Philadelphia did the last couple of years," Pederson said. "I thought that Philly was a little more just a lot of traditional zone schemes, inside and outside. Pulling guards, pulling centers. Now I have all of that in the offense too."
"But I also like lining up with a fullback or a tight end in the backfield. I like having those situations because you’re going to need guys that can lead block on MIKE linebackers. You need guys that can run power and traps and gap schemes and I like that style of running. It’s kind of how I grew up in this league, with that style of running."
Pederson brought up the possibility of carrying a fullback without being prompted. He was then asked specifically about carrying one on the 53-man roster.
"There’s a chance," he said. "There’s a chance. That’s something I want to consider this offseason. We carried one in Kansas City with Anthony Sherman. I also want to be able to see how our tight ends can hold up because if you can utilize a tight end back there to do the same things, it kind of frees up a [roster] spot. I’m going to look at that hard this offseason as we continue to build the system."
A FULLBACK! Boy, is Heath Evans going to be proud of this team or what? If you just can't get enough fullback talk, Pederson talked about it again even later.
"I like the fullback position," said Pederson. "It’s a position that we want to evaluate this spring. I know there’s not necessarily a ‘fullback’ on the roster right now. We had one in Kansas City. [We’re] sort of on assignment to find one. I like the fullback position and if we can add one on the roster that can also be a four-core special teams guy. That’s probably his primary role."
So the question is: who will the Eagles use at fullback? Some have suggested third-year tight end Trey Burton as a possibility.
"[Burton] is somebody that I want to look at there the spring," Pederson explained. "I want to see if he can handle that. I don’t know that answer yet without actually physically putting him in that position. The other thing, too, is there’s no blocking and protection schemes and all that kind of stuff in the spring. You really have to wait until training camp to know if he can hold up back there."
The Eagles might need Burton to put on some weight if they plan to use him in a lead blocking role. The Florida alumnus currently measures in at 6-3, 235 pounds. Compare that to Sherman in Kansas City, who is much shorter and stockier at 5-10, 242.
Philadelphia has a number of fullback options. John Kuhn, Darrel Young, Will Johnson, and Tyler Clutts are players available in free agency. Rob Gronkowksi's little brother Glenn is one of the draft prospects the Eagles met with at this year's Senior Bowl. It shouldn't be too hard for the team to find a guy they like.
Fullback may seem like an irrelevant position, but that's just not true. As Heath Evans pointed out, every Super Bowl winning team since 2007 has had one. Now the Eagles can finally win a championship again. It's that simple.