With the departure of Heath Evans via free agency, one position the Patriots may look to address this April is fullback.
Looking at the board, Tony Fiammetta from Syracuse looks to be the best option available. He is very strong, and is an excellent blocker, both in the running and passing game. He is a true fullback, but can occasionally make a play receiving the ball out of the backfield. The Patriots could likely nab him with their compensatory pick in the 5th round. He also already held a private workout with the Patriots, so he is definitely on the Pats’ radar.
However, beyond that, another option is for the Patriots to find their new fullback via a rookie free agent. With the fullback position being relatively unheralded, there might be some nice options post-draft for the Patriots to look at.
A few options:
Branson Marquez, Central Arkansas: Will likely convert from TE to fullback. Good run blocker with good initial quickness. Could be a dangerous threat out of the backfield. Projection: FA
Brannan Southerland, Georgia: Good strength, and a willing blocker who drives his legs. Is effective as both a receiver and runner (could be very effective in short yardage). Coming off injury in 2008. Projection: 7th – FA
Frank Summers, UNLV: Can play fullback, h-back, and tailback. Is effective at short yardage, and has great receiving ability for the fullback position. Lacks ideal height. Projection: FA
David Johnson, Arkansas State: Fullback/h-back for is an excellent drive blocker and good receiver out of the backfield but lacks experience as a tradtional fullback in the I-formation. Projection: FA
Quinn Johnson, LSU: Thick frame, likes to make contact, has good experience as a true fullback. However, not a good receiver, and doesn’t follow through on blocks. Projection: 6-7
Conredge Collins, Pitt: The son of Patriots great Tony Collins, Conredge has experience as both a fullback and halfback. Effective as both a runner, receiver, and blocker, but not great at any one thing. Projection: 6-7
Asaph Schwapp, Notre Dame: Great strength, struggles with speed and agility. However, is a true blocking fullback who could potentially be developed on special teams as well. Projection: FA
Marcus Mailei, Weber State: Not the most agile, but certainly a bruiser. Stout, true fullback who can run the ball short yardage, but is a very good drive blocker who sustains his blocks very nicely. Projection: 7th – FA