Oakland Raiders fullback Marcel Reece at 2011 training camp (photo by Levi Damien)
Fullbacks in this league range from vital to disposable depending on the team. They can have short shelf lives due to the beating they take on the field. But you find a good one and it can make all the difference in the world for an offense.
Most times the only real statistics a fullback has is from catching short passes out of the backfield. So they are expected to be hardnosed bulls with the soft hands for the receiving game. It is much like tight end in that regard. Except, tight ends aren't usually asked to clear holes of hard-charging linebackers.
And with the credentials required, fullbacks was one of the easier groups to rank in the AFC West.
Here are the ranking of the AFC West fullbacks by team:
Reece is one of the biggest mismatches in the NFL. He does a bit of everything. And when this former college wide receiver goes out for a pass, the defense doesn't know what to do with him. Either he draws a linebacker who can't keep up with him or he draws a corner and frees up a wide receiver. Now add Schmitt who is known for being a vicious blocker with a good set of hands all his own and the fullback position is set.
LeRon McClain, Jacob Hester
This Chargers offense is going to suffer for the loss of Mike Tolbert. LeRon McClain will be on his third team in three years. He was once an All Pro for the Ravens but it appears those days are long gone. Hester is a bit small for a fullback but he makes the most of his size and good technique goes a long way.
"The other Gronkowski" has played on two teams in his first two years after going undrafted in 2010. He had no statistics in seven games last season for the Colts as part of the worst team in football. Sylvester was part of the Buccaneers and Broncos last season and has not recorded an NFL statistic.
Bannon was a round seven pick in the 2011 draft and hasn't recorded an NFL statistic. Gentry is a 2012 undrafted free agent signing.