Ranking the 2013 Free Agents: Fullbacks
Every day this week (and some of next) we’re going to be breaking down the top free agents at each position. It’s more than just looking at our grades, but factoring in longevity, age, injuries and so much more in order to tell you who we think are the best gets out there.
We’re not going to insult your intelligence though when it comes to guys unlikely to hit the open market because of the franchise tag, so don’t expect to see names like Joe Flacco or Ryan Clady in these pieces. Instead we’re focusing on guys with a real shot at dipping their feet into the free agent pool and making your team better.
Yesterday we looked at the running backs, and now, the fullbacks:
1. Greg Jones – to HOU: 1-year, $1m
2012 Grade: +6.3
2012 Snaps: 246
Summary: Why Jones? Because first and foremost we want our full backs to be able to lead block. At 31 years of age you’re starting to wonder about how Jones, with his injury history, can hold up to the battering a fullback takes, but over the years few have come close to matching his ability to open up running lanes.
2. James Casey – to PHI: 3-year, $14.5m
2012 Grade: +7.0
2012 Snaps: 609
Summary: An interesting stat is that Casey was lined up at fullback on 17 of the 19 rushing touchdowns the Texans managed last year… interesting, but not completely relevant since Casey ended the year with a negative run blocking score. Indeed, he’s far more likely to hurt teams with the ball in his hands than he is to put a crushing block on a linebacker or safety. His +7.6 receiving grade was the best of all fullbacks.
3. Jerome Felton – stays in MIN: 3-year, $7.5m
2012 Grade: +9.3
2012 Snaps: 402
Summary: Where did that year come from? As is often the case, a big year from a back ensured big praise for his lead blocker, with Felton earning most of it with a +7.9 blocking grade. The Vikings averaged 6.3 yards per carry when he was lined up at fullback, the highest figure of all his peers. Still, it’s worth noting Rhett Ellison actually had a higher grade and the Vikings average 0.2 yards per carry more with him at fullback (he didn’t have enough snaps at the spot to qualify for the study). Felton is a good fullback, but is he a great one?
4. Corey McIntyre
2012 Grade: +1.3
2012 Snaps: 103
Summary: Due to the Bills’ offensive plan, McIntyre hardly ever saw the field. Which is a shame given how solid a blocker he has proven over the years. In 2011 he only saw 104 snaps and he has faced a moderate workload since the 2010 season where he again graded positively for his run blocking. Perhaps a change in coaching staff might make him valuable in Buffalo once again. Perhaps another team is going to make use of him.
5. Mike Cox
2012 Grade: +2.1
2012 Snaps: 137
Summary: Rounding out the class is the fill-in Cox, who wasn’t expected to start for the Falcons, but injuries to Brady Ewing, and Lousaka Polite having nothing left in the tank, meant Cox got a chance to show what he was capable of. He didn’t put himself in the shop window for a starting gig so much as show he’s a serviceable option in the short term.
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