Do the Seahawks have a fullback problem?
By Dan Viens
The Seahawks are one of the few NFL teams to still employ a full-time fullback on their roster. But it appears even that may now be changing.
I’ve heard the question all offseason; who’s going to play full back for the Seahawks this year?
It’s a fair question, given the lack of attention paid to the position this offseason. Seattle fans are used to seeing excellent play out of the FB position. The last two years Will Tukuafu and Derrick Coleman did some good things, and prior to that Michael Robinson was a fan favorite and even made a Pro Bowl.
But the team didn’t attempt to re-sign either Coleman or Tukuafu, and the only player on the roster with FB currently listed next to his name is undrafted rookie Brandin Bryant. And Bryant is a convert who played defensive tackle at Florida Atlantic and spent the first day of training camp on defense instead of offense:
Another undrafted rookie DT, University of Washington product Tani Tupou, was listed as a FB during the offseason but was working exclusively on defense today.
So that leaves Brandon Cottum, a 2015 practice squad player, and possibly rookie RB Tre Madden out of USC as fullback types. Both have seen reps at the position this offseason, but neiter is currently listed as such on the roster. Cottum appears as a TE while Madden is still listed as a running back.
So what’s up?
It’s possible that the Hawks, as they look to evolve on offense after the retirement of Marshawn Lynch, are planning on phasing the position out…..perhaps for good.
The thinking could be this: the best way to play to Russell Wilson’s strengths (while also playing against the weaknesses of the current offensive line) is to lean on a quick passing game. When Wilson fully committed to that concept last year he took flight, and so did the offense as a whole. Then the team went out this spring and loaded up on young, versatile skill players who were gifted at catching the ball and working in space. The addition of RB’s Alex Collins, CJ Prosise and even Zac Brooks all fit that mold, as does last year’s rookie sensation WR Tyler Lockett. It appears that offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell is planning to run more spread sets.
But the key to this entire concept may be 3rd round draft pick TE Nick Vannett. At Ohio State, he was such a great blocker that the Buckeyes would line him up as both an H-back and even in front of the RB in a traditional lead-blocking fullback. It’s possible the Seahawks see the same role for him.
Next: Predicting the 2016 season, game by game
If someone like Bryant makes the team as a rotational defensive linemen, there may still be a dual role available to him similar to the one Tukuafu filled. But don’t be surprised if the Hawks break camp without a single true fullback listed on their final 53.