Titans free agency outlook: Fullback

Photo by Andrew Strickert for Total Titans
Will Ahmard Hall be the Titans’ fullback in 2011?

The fullback position is one that’s often overlooked and sometimes underappreciated.  It’s also a position that isn’t used as frequently as it once was and may still be on the decline.  How much of a role a fullback will play in Chris Palmer’s new offense, and what that role will be, remains to be seen.

It also remains to be seen if the Titans will attempt to re-sign Ahmard Hall to remain as their fullback when football activities resume.

Hall is one of my favorite Titans, primarily because of his service to our country.  I also appreciate what he did after that.  Hall wasn’t expected to be a professional athlete.  He was a walk-on at Texas and was signed by the Titans as an undrafted free agent.  He’s now one of the veteran leaders on the team and his leadership is an asset to the Titans and something that won’t easily be replaced.

On the downside, Hall isn’t any better than average as a fullback.  He’s a decent blocker, but not great.  He’s not an outstanding runner or pass receiver.  When he does handle the ball, he has ball security issues too often.  And he’s on the wrong side of 30.

If the Titans decide to go with someone else, someone with more skills and who is younger, there are some good options as potential free agents.  These are the best fullbacks who may be available, though not all of them would be a fit for the Titans.  Ages are as of this season, if there is one.

Vonta Leach, Houston Texans, age 29
The best fullback in the league, a tremendous lead blocker.  Was selected last year as a first-team All-Pro.  Getting him away from a division rival would be a double shot; it would strengthen the Titans and weaken the Texans.  Leach reportedly wants to become the highest paid fullback in the league.  He deserves it.

Le’Ron McClain, Baltimore Ravens, age 26
The best rushing fullback in the league, McClain has a lot of running back in his game, a little too much for my taste.  Assuming the Titans will have Chris Johnson back this season, they don’t need to give many carries to anyone else.  If McClain wants plenty of carries, as he complained about in Baltimore, Tennessee isn’t the best place for him.

John Kuhn, Green Bay Packers, age 29
Perhaps the most versatile fullback in the league.  Kuhn is a good lead blocker and also contributed as the Packers’ short-yardage and goal line specialist.  He’s a five-year veteran and was tendered by the Packers at the original round level, which is strange since he was undrafted.

Marcel Reece, Oakland Raiders, age 26
A good blocker and an excellent receiver as a back.  He was a wide receiver in college and was formerly on the Raiders’ practice squad.  If Palmer is looking at the short passing game and maybe some West Coast stuff, Reece could be a good fit.  A three-year veteran, Reece should be a restricted free agent.

Mike Tolbert, San Diego Chargers, age 26
We unfortunately saw him have a good game against the Titans last year when he rushed for 63 yards and a score on just 11 carries.  Tolbert was the leading rusher for the Chargers last year, as injuries limited first-round draft pick Ryan Mathews.  Tolbert will be a RFA and was tendered as a second-rounder, which is far too expensive for the Titans.

I wouldn’t mind seeing Hall return for another season, though I’d prefer for the Titans to upgrade the position.  I’d love to see Leach in two-tone blue.  Kuhn would be my second choice and Reece my third option.

What do you think?  Who do you want the Titans fullback to be this season?

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