Well, the world’s already-tiny available fullback pool got even tinier this week.
A report has surfaced about former Falcons FB Derrick Coleman, and where his new home will be for the 2018 season.
FB Derrick Coleman agreed to a one year deal with the Arizona Cardinals , per source.— Eric Edholm (@Eric_Edholm) May 9, 2018
Coleman wasn’t exactly a world shaker in Atlanta on offense, where he was fine as a lead blocker and virtually nonexistent as a role player. The latter’s not his specialty, to be fair, and he did give the team some of its best special teams play last season. Coleman did his job, and, when he’s on, is still one of the better overall fullbacks in football. He’s also overcome a lot to get to where he is, and that should never go unnoticed.
Really, there just aren’t many great fullbacks out there anymore, as the position begins to dwindle. The Falcons had a good one in Patrick DiMarco that slipped away to Buffalo, but that’s life sometimes.
The Falcons will be relying on UDFAs Luke McNitt and Daniel Marx to duke it out in camp for the starting job. Kevin Knight reviewed each guy, and offered his thoughts on the battle-to-be. He mentions UDFA RB Demario Richard and UDFA TE Jake Roh as potential hybrid guys who could mesh into lead blocking duties.
For veterans out there in case that battle goes awry, it’s slim pickings with Coleman, the obvious choice, out of the picture. Former Green Bay stalwart John Kuhn is the best option available, but he will be 36 in September. Former Panthers HB Mike Tolbert is also still available, as is Orson Charles. Yes, none of those guys are likely to make the Pro Bowl anytime soon, but if the camp battle flames out, those guys will probably be the first ones called.
The team could also opt to trade for someone, and yes, after looking at all the NFL teams’ fullback jobs, there are potential roster bubble names to watch. Green Bay has two guys who could vie for that job -- Joe Kerridge and Aaron Ripkowski -- and the odd man out there, hypothetically, could probably be had with a seventh rounder.
Also watch for Dallas’ Lewis Neal, a hybrid FB/DT who might be the second fiddle to new Cowboys FB Jamize Olawale. The Seahawks have a bunch of FBs in house, and former Titans FB Jalston Fowler is intriguing as a sole lead blocker who still might have something to show yet. San Francisco’s Malcolm Johnson would know Kyle Shanahan’s offense already. And, if Coleman is the new guy in Arizona, maybe they’d want to part ways with HB Elijhaa Penny?
The Falcons are probably going to let McNitt and Marx go at it through the preseason, evaluate who won that battle, and if there’s no winner, watch the waiver wire to see who gets cuts when rosters get going, and, perhaps, look at that Green Bay battle or one of the other names above.
The nice thing about the fullback spot is that there are usually options if you want them. We’ll wish Coleman well in Arizona, and see who ends up getting his spot in Atlanta.