We know Jon Gruden likes his fullbacks. But he just can’t make up his mind who he likes best. Oakland has been a revolving door of fullbacks since he arrived.
When he got the job in January, his fullback was Jamize Olawale. Knowing Gruden’s affinity for the position, it seems like good news for the underutilized receiving threat. That didn’t turn out to be the case.
Come free agency, Gruden nabbed free agent former linebacker Keith Smith to be his bruising fullback. And late in the draft, he traded Olawale (back) to Dallas, where he was originally signed as an undrafted free agent several years ago before the Raiders stole him off the Cowboys’ practice squad.
Following the draft, the Raiders added undrafted free agent Nick Sharga. But come rookie minicamp, Gruden’s eyes wandered. He liked Henry Poggi who went undrafted out of Michigan and he tossed Sharga in favor of Poggi.
That arrangement lasted through OTA’s and minicamp, before Gruden saw someone else he liked better. That someone else is undrafted rookie Ryan Yurachek out of Marshall.
Yurachek had originally signed with the Saints last month. The 6-0, 240-pounder played four years (2014-17) as a tight end, appearing in 51 games and tallying 143 receptions for 1,354 yards and 26 touchdowns. He earned first-team All-Conference USA honors in 2017.
His addition suggests perhaps Gruden liked him initially, but lost out to the Saints and when he came available again, Gruden jumped at the chance to get him. Maybe Gruden is finally done changing out fullbacks. Who knows.