Falcons Needs: Fullback
The Falcons made a commitment to retain this position in their offense by drafting Bradie Ewing last April in the fifth round. Ewing missed all of his rookie season with an ACL tear, suffered in the preseason opener. While fullback won’t be a pivotal position in the Falcons offense, the team would not have deemed it necessary to draft Ewing if it wasn’t going to offer some value.
The team began the 2012 season with Lousaka Polite at fullback, but he quickly proved inadequate. The team brought back Mike Cox, who lost the competition to Polite during camp, and Cox played fairly well. Cox is by no means a great fullback, but he’s a competent lead blocker. He will be a free agent, and the Falcons will have to make a decision on whether to re-sign him or just to simply hand the keys over to Ewing.
If they opt to re-sign Cox, it should not require a significant investment, as he’s likely to be amenable to another one-year, minimum-level contract. That way the Falcons have an insurance policy in place if Ewing isn’t completely recovered from his knee injury or quite ready to be an NFL starter. More than likely the team would bring both players to camp and Ewing would be the favorite to win any competition between them.
The team can also tinker with moving Jason Snelling to the spot full-time if Cox is not retained. Snelling played well early in the year, when he was filling in for an injured Polite. If Snelling was again to be buried on the depth chart as the No. 3 running back in 2013, mixing him into the lineup at fullback would be a good way to get some production from him.
Overall, the Falcons need at this position isn’t very big due to the presence of Ewing, and the fact that the team has an in-house candidate in Snelling and an easy-to-retain free agent in Cox.