Patrick Semansky/Associated Press
Vonta Leach had been the Ravens' starting fullback for the past three seasons. He helped pave the way for running back Ray Rice to rush for more than 2,500 yards from 2011-2012. Baltimore also ranked in the top 11 in rushing offense in each of those two seasons.
But Rice only rushed for 660 yards last year while the Baltimore rushing offense finished 30th in the NFL. That helped lead to Baltimore cutting Leach in hopes of finding a better option at FB.
That's where Kyle Juszczyk comes in. Baltimore selected Juszczyk in the fourth round (130th overall) in the 2013 NFL draft.
Even though the Ravens had Leach at FB, Juszczyk was able to earn playing time on special teams. Once the offseason came, the Ravens released Leach and now look set on making Juszczyk the primary FB in 2014.
Heading into training camp, Juszczyk is the only fullback on the roster. He's not a traditional FB like Leach was, though.
Juszczyk is more of an H-back that's becoming more popular in the NFL. That's because in today's pass-happy NFL, having a FB who can catch passes is becoming commonplace.
While playing college football at Harvard, Juszczyk caught 125 passes while showing his versatility to be a physical run-blocker and a capable pass-catcher.
"He stoned every linebacker in one-on-one blitzing drills at the Senior Bowl," said NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock, via NFL.com. "His mentality: He can play fullback; he can play H-back. There's value."
Bo Smolka of CSN Baltimore believes Juszczyk's stock is rising ahead of training camp based on how he performed in OTAs.
Whether lined up wide, or in the slot, or in the backfield, the second-year fullback always seems to be involved. Gary Kubiak's offense has always had a spot for a hybrid fullback/H-back, and with Vonta Leach no longer around, Juszczyk figures to have a sizable role this year.
Juszczyk has a shot to earn a bigger role with Baltimore this year with a good showing in training camp.