For many of you, Patrick DiMarco was a third option at fullback in 2013. First, there were those who still wished Ovie Mughelli was on the roster. Second, there were those who saw (and probably still see) Brady Ewing as the Falcons' fullback of the future. Lastly, there were those who saw DiMarco as a real option. So far, it appears those who fell into the third camp saw something in DiMarco, notwithstanding his lack of flash. Congrats to those folks, Dave owes you a drink (or seven).
Yes, I'm well aware of the obvious, and so are you. There's no use hiding it: DiMarco isn't (and probably never will be) the most popular player at Flowery Branch. But believe it or not, he was positively rated by Pro Football Focus. His cumulative blocking rating in 2013 (3.0) ranked him 10th among fullbacks who played at least 25 percent of their teams' rushing snaps. That said, he played in less than 20 percent of the Falcons' total offensive snaps. He wasn't part of the Falcons' offense more often than not. But he was there, he saw, and for the most part, when given the opportunity, he conquered.
Brady Ewing is an interesting cat. He hasn't had much opportunity to prove his worth since the Falcons drafted him in the 5th round 2 years ago. I don't blame him, but I'd sure like to see how he performs at this level. He'd have started but for his injury early last season. Given the injuries, the team will likely be patient with him. I'm not saying I disagree with that approach; in fact, it's the smart thing to do. And that's where Dimarco comes in. He brings a level of reliability to the table that Ewing has yet to associate himself with.
Is Dimarco an elite player like Mike Tolbert or Anthony Sherman? No. He's not. He's also not as dynamic as those players, with each of them playing 2-3 times more than Dimarco. But he holds his own. I can respect that. I'm quite sure the Falcons will eventually want to lock somebody down long-term, but in the interim, he will get the job done.
Of course I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Jason Snelling. The occasional fullback didn't see much time in a run blocking role this season. While he logged well over 200 snaps, he never once produced a Pro Football Focus rateable run blocking rating. He's proven himself in the past, but with a potential dead money total under $400,000 in 2014, he may find himself on the chopping block in the very near future.