old mother hubbard: the fullbacks

>> 2.26.2009

Unfortunately, I may not be able to get all these bad boys done in time for tonight's midnight madness.  Still, we press on . . .

Jerome Felton:  The Lions second fifth-round pick in 2008, the 6'-0", 246# rookie definitely made an impression.  Big, thick, and yet agile enough to be a legitimate rushing and recieving threat, Felton seemed to be a solid addition.  He didn't blow people up in the blocking game quite like a man of his size ought to, and he was slowed for a few weeks by an ankle injury.  However, the man absolutely wrecked people at Tulane, and I think he could develop into an effective offensive weapon.  Much like TE Michael Gaines, he could get used as Linehan used H-back Jim Kliensasser did when Linehan was in Minnesota.  However, I don't think he'll develop into the facemask-breaking replacement for Cory Schlesinger that fans want to see.  Bottom line:  a big young man with plenty of athleticism for his size, Felton could see significant time in 2009.

Jon Bradley:  A fan favorite, Bradley is a converted defensive tackle (!).  Listed at 6'-1", 310#, Bradley is a huge load coming through the line.  However, he's not just a big body--Bradley was an RB/LB in high school, and is sitting at third all-time in Arkansas high school history with 6,493 rushing yards and fourth all-time with 85 rushing TDs.  That . . . is impressive.  Bradley was converted from DT to fullback in the middle of the 2007 preseason, and served pretty admirably for the rest of the year, considering he knew practically nothing of the offense or position until then.  Hopes were high for 2008, but a shoulder injury in the last game of the preseason was going to sideline him for at least several weeks.  The Lions pulled out their old "let's stash this guy" card and IR'd Bradley.  If he is 100%, he should push Jerome Felton for playing time--and in fact, they might become the 'blocking FB' and 'recieving FB'.  However, if he doesn't shine in camp, he might not make the team.  Bottom line: a fan favorite who's a lot more 'theoretical potential' than 'actual reality'.  Missing all of 2008 means the jury is definitely still out.

Moran Norris: a journeyman free agent signed when Felton got injured, the 6'-1, 250# free agent has one of the best names ever.  If you ever frequent the message boards at thehuddle.com, you know why.  Norris proved to be a capable veteran blocker, but he didn't flash much that makes me think he'll be around at the end of training camp.  Bottom line: just a guy with a great name.

SUMMARY:  Between Felton and Bradley, the Lions should be okay at this position going into 2009.  Both of them have potential to be above-average NFL fullbacks in one capacity or another, but it remains to be seen how close to their potential they'll get.  I don't see a burning need here, but if a prospect they love falls into their laps late on the second day, I could see it.


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