The Atlanta Falcons will look to get as much production as possible from their talented running back stable this season. Part of that effort will be getting settled at the fullback position. Despite solid preseason performances from Ricky Ortiz, they are apparently unwilling to hand him the job yet.
According to ESPN’s Vaughn McClure, the Falcons just went out and signed former Tennessee Titans and Seattle Seahawks fullback Jalston Fowler. The team followed up with an announcement that they had cut Luke McNitt and replaced one Williams with another Williams at receiver.
Looks like Falcons signing FB Jalston Fowler from Alabama, a former fourth round draft pick of Titans last with Seahawks.— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) August 20, 2018
Fowler is a University of Alabama product that spent almost three years with the Titans after they drafted him in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He played 42 games in Tennessee, starting 8 of them. The Seahawks put him on their practice squad last December before handing him a futures contract in January. The Seahawks cut him on August 12th and now he’ll look to find a home with the Falcons.
For the moment, this signing shouldn’t worry Ortiz much, but the same can’t be said for Luke McNitt, who hasn’t done much this preseason to justify a roster spot. McNitt came out of Nebraska with a reputation as a physical blocker, but after outliving fellow UDFA Daniel Marx, he’s pushed off the roster by Ortiz and the veteran Fowler. We’ll hope he lands elsewhere.
The Falcons are just shuffling the deck chairs on the Williams receiver boat by cutting ties with Taj Williams and adding Julian Williams. The latter Williams will undoubtedly see playing time this Saturday against the Jaguars, but he has virtually no chance of sticking around into the season, thanks to the numbers game at receiver.
Ortiz was apparently wearing a black, non-contact jersey during practice yesterday, so he might be a little banged up. Fowler is built like a dump truck and may bring a degree of physicality the Falcons think they are missing in the more technique-oriented, athletic Ortiz.
For what it’s worth, Fowler’s downfall in Seattle was apparently injury-related. A nagging hamstring injury kept him off in the field during their first preseason game. If he can get and stay healthy, there’s reason to think he will make the fullback camp battle much more interesting.