After watching games and breaking down film, Scouts Inc., in conjunction with ESPN.com's Matt Williamson, has evaluated and graded more than 2,500 NFL players heading into the 2012 season. Below is how the top fullbacks stacked up.
Note: No rookies were included in this exercise, and age refers to a player's age on Sept. 5, the start of 2012 season.
Several NFL teams don't even keep a fullback on their roster anymore and very few offenses employ this position in the traditional sense. But fullbacks aren't yet things of the past. Running backs still love to follow a guard-in-the-backfield like Vonta Leach through holes for big gains.
Pure blocking fullbacks like Leach can set the tone for a running game -- finesse just isn't an option. But there also are fullbacks now who have advanced receiving skills and the versatility to move around the formation and cause matchup problems, especially in the red zone. Marcel Reece, James Casey and Charles Clay immediately come to mind in this capacity, and it wouldn't be surprising (much like the evolving of the tight end position) to see more and more fullbacks who can create problems as versatile receiving threats.
Leach is a big, strong, blocking fullback with limited rushing skills. He lacks speed and quickness and has just adequate vision between the tackles. He does have reliable hands as a receiver out of the backfield.
Leach is the Ravens' primary lead blocker in their power running attack and has been durable and consistent throughout much of his career.
Reece is a unique football player. Listed as a fullback, he has fullback-like skills, but he offers much more than that. Reece is an outstanding receiver with great hands and precise route running skills.
He can align all over the formation and can run wide receiver-type routes from a detached position. But Reece is also a big, physical runner with good feet and more-than-adequate blocking skills in the running and passing games.
Kuhn is a hulking fullback with above-average athleticism. He has limited rushing skills but shows good vision between the tackles.
He has reliable hands in the passing game. Kuhn is utilized primarily as a lead blocker in the running game and also contributes on special teams.