fun gus wrote:
The fact that no other team in the league even sniffed him other then the Rams is telling.
What is telling about it, is as you said, it's a dying position. Which I think is the primary reason why Ovie hasn't signed, and the perception (fair or unfair) that he's damaged goods.
Look around the league, and your average starting FB only plays about 15-20 snaps per game. Several teams don't even use a fullback, just favoring 4-WRs and 2-TE sets almost exclusively (DET, IND, NE). In fact the Falcons are on the lower end of the spectrum in terms of FB usage this year.
And the majority of the current ones in the league are former UDFAs: Marcel Reese, Hynoski, Kuhn, Jovorskie Lane, Bruce Miller, Darrel Young, Jed Collins, Brit MIller, Chris Pressley, etc. And what has increasingly become the new trend is that teams are converting players from other positions. James Casey and Marcel Reese are former college WRs. Kuhn, Lane, Greg Jones, Charles Clay, Snelling, Mike Tolbert, Lex Hilliard, Matt Asiate, Nate Eachus, etc. were all RBs in college. Corey McIntyre, Erik Lorig, Bruce Miller, Will Tukuafu are college DEs. Side note: Interestingly enough all either played for Jim Harbaugh in college (Lorig) or currently play for him now (Miller & Tukuafu). Collins, Evan Rodriguez & Rhett Ellison were TEs in college. Michael Robinson was a friggin' college QB. Owen Marecic was a college FB, but pulled double duty and also played MLB. Basically there are literally a handful of guys currently in the NFL that were primarily fullbacks in college and remain fullbacks today.
What's my point? Is that teams have basically figured they can plug and play with fullbacks (as the Falcons have done with Hawley & Snelling).
Yet in the midst of all of this, the Falcons drafted one of these "traditional" fullbacks and he's currently languishing on IR, and will have to overcome a much more significant knee injury next year than Ovie had to this year. Yeah, TD really got that right.
Now I'd bet the real reason why the Rams cut Ovie and chose Brit Miller at FB is (1) because Miller has been one of their more productive ST players over the years, (2) was paid roughly the same amount of money as Ovie was due to make for them, (3) and in the zero sum game that was their roster decision and they felt that as a 26-year old coming off an ACL tear was a much smarter investment than a 32-year old coming off an MCL tear. And (4) given that Miller is currently graded as the 10th best blocking FB on Pro Football Focus (compared to say Polite who is 40th out of 43 FBs), it seems like good ol' Les Snead comes out glowing.
Now, my stance has never
been against the outright cutting
of Ovie. The Falcons saved $3 million against this year's cap by cutting him. And was Ovie's value to this roster worth losing that $3 million savings? No.
My stance was always against the timing of cutting
Ovie. Reaping that $3 million in savings on May 8 is practically worthless. Because 95% of the FAs that will do anything in the upcoming season already signed deals weeks/months before.
And that $3 million, had it been reaped on March 13 when free agency began, could have been put towards adding any number of significant components that would have helped this team to a much greater degree than Bradie Ewing, Mike Cox, or Lousaka Polite have in the time since.
With their decision to draft Bradie Ewing, it was clear that they had made the decision long before draft day (and subsequently May 8) that they were going to cut Ovie. We have to presume that in order to do the pre-draft work on Ewing, they had to make that decision by late March or early April at the very latest if not in February/early March when draft boards really get finalized for most teams.
So let's assume that after watching Ewing work out on his March 8 pro day, within the next week they had really made the decision that they wanted him, which also coincides with the beginning of free agency. Let's assume that TD is good at his job and that the decision to draft Ewing wasn't some willy nilly decision made the morning of the draft, but instead was one of several moves planned out weeks/months in advanced...
So with that assumption, why did the Falcons then decide to wait another 2 months to cut Ovie? Why did Mr. Dimitroff decide to sit
on the $3 million in cap savings for 2 months?
Someone please explain to me what that was the smart(est) move? How did that benefit the team?
So TD got it right with how he's handled this entire fullback situation this year? You can praise TD for many things, but this is not one of them. It's by no means a clusterfudge, but the Falcons have yet to come up smelling like roses in regards to the fullback position.
In fact, I'd bet money that next year you'll see the Falcons move more towards the popular 2-TE based offense than one that uses a traditional FB like Ewing or Ovie.