Meet the New FB, Same as the Old LB

Posted on Jun 12 2014 - 2:49am by Luke Schultheis
(Image Courtesy of Zimbio)- Bruising blocker? Former linebacker, now converted fullback, Mario Harvey could regularly pave the way for Colts' runningbacks in 2014.

(Image Courtesy of Zimbio)- Bruising blocker? Former linebacker, now a converted fullback, Mario Harvey could regularly pave the way for Colts’ runningbacks in 2014.

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:

(Image Courtesy of Can he block better than he can tackle?

(Image Courtesy of Mario Harvey is now a Fullback. Can he presumably block better than he can tackle?

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).

(Image Courtesy of SFGate)- Colts' fan will always remember defensive lineman, then turned full back, Dan Klecko catching a game-tying TD in the the 2006 season's AFC Championship Game.

(Image Courtesy of SFGate)- Colts’ fans will always remember former defensive lineman, then situational full back, Dan Klecko catching a game-tying TD from QB Peyton Manning in the 2006 season’s AFC Championship Game against the hated New England Patriots.

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.



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