The following is the fifth of 10 installments previewing the 2003 NFL draft class. Today, we feature the fullbacks.
The usually weak crop of fullbacks in the NFL Draft will have teams with need at the position scrambling to find a prospect, with possibly only one true fullback candidate worthy of a first-day pick.
He's Ovie Mughelli, 6-1, 255, an accomplished and physical blocker who adds little in the passing game and next to nothing as a runner. But if you're looking for a blocking specialist at the fullback position, Mughelli is your man.
Then, the fall-off at the position would seem to be distinct. Stanford's Casey Moore and South Carolina's Andrew Pinnock have some upside beyond the role of a blocker, and Colorado's Brandon Drumm and Michigan's B.J. Askew are late-round prospects of some interest, too.
Moore, 6-2, 240, has 4.65 speed and can run and catch a little. His blocking skills are OK but not up to NFL standards.
Pinnock, 5-10, 265, may be real attractive to a team looking for someone to develop at the fullback position, who, in the meantime, can give the team backup insurance at running back and pop in short-yardage situations. He rushed for 563 yards and five touchdowns for the Gamecocks last season. And he can catch a little. But his blocking skills are for another day. He's not a capable enough runner to make it in the NFL as a feature back, and whether he sticks in the league will depend on his ability to learn how to block. He hasn't done much of it.
Drumm, 6-1, 233, lacks the kind of size teams want at fullback, but Drumm is a down-and-dirty guy who has well-rounded skills and the mentality of a bloody-nose blocker. He's all-out all of the time.
Askew, 6-2, 241, will have to make the move from runner to blocker. He rushed for 586 yards and six touchdowns last season and sees himself as a feature back, but fullback must be his niche in the NFL. He has 4.65 speed and the potential to be a blocker, but he's a developmental guy, at best.
Jeremi Johnson of Western Kentucky, Justin Griffith of Mississippi State and Tom Lopienski of Notre Dame may be the only other true fullbacks who carry draftable grades.
Johnson, 5-11, 260, is dog slow but quick and forceful out of his stance. He has very impressive rushing and receiving stats from last season and his lead-blocking skills are sound. Keeping his weight down has been a problem, and there are reports of character and work-ethic issues.
Griffith, 5-11, 232, has 4.6 speed and limited run and catch ability. He topped the scouting combine in reps of 225 pounds. Quick, mobile and instinctive; strong upper body, but his lack of size causes him to be unable to knock blockers back at the point of attack. With more size and development, could be a valued guy.
Lopienski, 6-0, 246, is an all-around, blue-collar player who can help a team on special teams. But he's slow and adds nothing in the run and catch departments. Any team drafting him will be taking a flier Lopienski can become the next Marc Edwards.
But the Jaguars signed Edwards in free agency, so this would seem to be the one position in which the Jaguars will have little or no draft interest.