B/R NFL 1,000: A Scout's Guide to Grading Fullbacks

Matt MillerNFL Draft Lead WriterFebruary 27, 2012

John Kuhn of the Packers.
John Kuhn of the Packers.Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Scouting a fullback takes perspective±and patience. Fullbacks are used differently from one team to another, and on some depth charts they simply don't exist. 

What do we look for when scouting a fullback? The ideal fullback must be part tight end, part offensive guard and part running back. We need speed, power, soft hands and a tough-nosed mentality and mean streak that allows the player to be a complete blocker.

Here's a breakdown of each trait. Check out the B/R NFL 1,000 to see our rankings of today's NFL fullbacks.



Graded against his friends at running back, a fullback must have the quickness and balance to change direction as a runner, blocker and route runner. 


Ball Protection

Put simply, how well does the player hold onto the ball?



Burst is the amount of speed and force generated in the first five yards of a player's movement.



A judge of how well the player catches the football, in terms of technique and actual production. When catching the football we look for arm extension, open fingers and the ball caught with the player's hands, and then tucked in before running.


Pass Block

Pass-blocking for a fullback refers to the player's ability to recognize and pick up a pass rush. Fullbacks must be strong enough to meet an edge rusher head on and thwart a rush. We're looking for technique—balance, strength, point of impact—as well as production.



How strong the player is, not only in terms of bench presses, but in on-field strength.


Route Running

A grade of the player's understanding and ability to run effective routes.


Run Block

How well does the fullback explode off the ball, clear a hole and keep moving? This area grades the fullback's ability to charge ahead and create lanes.



Contrary to burst, speed is the player's ability to accelerate and run away from defenders. 



A player's 2011 injury status. Not only looking at actual injuries, but time missed to injury.



The cumulative score of the 10 traits above, all wrapped up in one score. This sets the player's place in the position ranking and, ultimately, in the B/R NFL 1,000 ranking across all positions.