Last year's draft saw five fullbacks come off the board, with none being selected before the fourth round. This shows the fullback position is dying and doesn't have much value in the NFL. The league's top rookie fullback was arguably Henry Hynoski, who went undrafted.
This year's class of fullbacks is even less impressive than last year. At this point, even my top-rated prospect doesn't carry a draftable grade. There's a great chance that we don't see a single fullback selected in the 2012 draft.
Player Comparison: John Connor, New York Jets
Clemson's Chad Diehl is a bulky and powerful football player. His natural strength allows him to overpower defenders at the point of attack. He's a true lead blocker who doesn't offer much upside or versatility. His limited athleticism prevents him from making a contribution in the passing game.
Deihl doesn't carry a draftable grade but could work his way onto a roster. He needs to show a team that he can contribute on special teams if he wants to stick in the NFL.
Player Comparison: Spencer Larsen, Denver Broncos
Nothing about Wisconsin's Bradie Ewing will overly impress evaluators except for his effort. Ewing is a team player who doesn't mind doing the grunt work. This and his high motor gives him a shot at earning a roster spot as a special teams player.
He doesn't boast great size or strength but keeps his pads low and rolls his hips. His solid technique is what allows him to effectively execute blocks.
Player Comparison: Chris Gronkowski
USC's Rhett Ellison can fill both the H-back and traditional fullback role for an NFL team. He isn't great at any one thing but is solid at everything. Ellison's ability to pluck the ball out of the air makes him a very reliable pass-catcher.
His effort and understanding of the game is what makes him a successful blocker. He doesn't have the raw physical abilities to lax on his technique. It's doubtful Ellison gets drafted but he should land a camp invite.
Player Comparison: Marcel Reese, Oakland Raiders
Temple's Evan Rodriguez is more of a H-back than a traditional fullback, but will need to fill multiple roles to make it in the NFL. His strength is as a pass-catcher who's capable of creating some mismatches. Rodriguez is a reliable receiver with a decent short area burst to create some separation.
He isn't an overwhelming force as a blocker but works hard enough to be effective. Rodriguez's ability to contribute in the passing game gives him a better shot at getting drafted.
Player Comparison: Mike Tolbert, San Diego Chargers
Texas' Cody Johnson is the most athletic of the fullbacks in the 2012 draft. He offers the most potential as a short-yardage runner. His good first step allows him to press the hole with a head of steam and power and he does a good job keeping his pad level low, which helps him generate power and deliver an initial jolt.
He's powerful enough to develop into a good lead blocker but needs to perfect his technique.