If you’re like me, as part of your daily scouring of the Colts’ roster, one notable difference may have jumped out at you in recent days, Mario Harvey, Fullback:
This is the same Mario Harvey, who filled in when ILB Jerrell Freeman went down against San Diego in Week 6, and was subsequently diced by RB Danny Woodhead and the Chargers’ offense in a 19-9 Bolts’ win. A coverage performance that was reminiscent of ex-Colts’ LB Clint Session trying to cover, rather unsuccessfully, then Chargers’ RB Darren Sproles in the 2008 Wildcard Playoff Game. The same Mario Harvey with 15 total career tackles (10 of which occurred in that aforementioned regular season Chargers’ game).
Can Mario Harvey play the position long-term? Frankly, I have no idea. Outside his teammates and coaches now in practice, it’s anyone’s guess. At 264 lbs, which is nearly 20 pounds more than the incumbent starting FB Stanley Havili, he certainly has enough bulk to play the position. However, does bulk lead to better blocking? Maybe. If I recall, he had a few snaps in 2013 as a situational goal line fullback and sprung then-Colts’ RB Donald Brown to paydirt.
Nevertheless, from what I’ve seen on tape, Harvey doesn’t strike me as someone who’s going to catch the ball out of the backfield and move around like a “dancing bear” with the ball in his hands. If he can’t block consistently, he’ll likely bust. That has to be his meal ticket if he’s going to successfully make the transition from linebacker to fullback in the NFL.
Is there any past Colts’ precedent to follow? Off the top of my head, I seem to recall former Colt DT’s Eric Foster, Dan Klecko, and Darrell Reid playing fullback, but like Harvey previously, those were just as situational players near the goal line, not as their newly converted everyday positions.
The Colts obviously feel like there’s potential there or at least that Harvey has shown enough promise as an NFL athlete; otherwise, what’s the point in making the move?
That being said, I still think he’s a longshot to make the roster as a fullback. In today’s NFL, many teams rarely carry more than one fullback. I wish him good luck, but I can’t see the Colts carrying more than one, especially one that is presumably still raw and learning the position. There’s more pressing positions and needs to fill out on the roster, then a fullback that can maybe do more than situationally block. We’ll see.