The age of having a traditional fullback on the roster in the NFL has really started dwindle over the last several years. So much so that very few teams even have a fullback on their roster.
Teams have started using H-backs, tight ends, and even offensive/defensive lineman to come in and make those traditional type fullbacks expendable because they can contribute in more ways for the team.
Since taking over the head-coaching responsibilities for the Dallas Cowboys, Jason Garrett is one of the remaining few that likes to have a traditional fullback on the final 53 man roster.
Since 2013, Tyler Clutts has been the Cowboys fullback, but he is currently a free agent and it appears as if the organization is ready to examine all options to replace him.
It’s hard to justify carrying a fullback on the roster when they play so few snaps. In 2015, Clutts played in only 13% of the offensive snaps (133), and only played 79 snaps on special teams. With each and every roster spot being so valuable, you can see why teams have started to look for more versatile players to fill the fullback position, while also contributing in other ways.
That is why it should come to no surprise that the Cowboys are looking at two of their current players to make a position change to fullback.
The Cowboys are moving LB Keith Smith to fullback. He’ll compete for the fullback job on this year’s team with RB Rod Smith.
Both Keith and Rod Smith’s best chance of making the roster in 2016 might just be playing a position that is foreign to them up to this point of their careers, but a position that might just earn them more playing time.
Keith Smith has been on and off the Cowboys roster the last two seasons. At 6’0″, 232 pounds, he has the build to make the transition to fullback. There must be something to his game that the Cowboys like and making the switch to fullback could be a way of trying to find a place for him on the roster.
He has already gone from wearing #56 and is now sporting the #41 jersey, so the move is already in the works.
The transition may be a little bit easier on Rod Smith since he has been accustomed to lining up in the backfield, but now he will be switching from receiving the handoffs to becoming a lead blocker.
Rod Smith joined the Cowboys roster in 2015 after he was released by the Seattle Seahawks. He played in 10 games but did not contribute in the running or passing game. He did however remain on the roster despite this because he was able to contribute on special teams.
At 6’3″, 226 pounds, he doesn’t have the traditional build of a fullback, but it’s his versatility that I think the Cowboys find intriguing.
In fact, Mark Lane recently tweeted what Jason Garrett finds intriguing about Rod Smith making that transition to fullback.
Jason Garrett on why you would take an RB like Rod Smith and make him a fullback:
It certainly sounds as if the Cowboys have put quite a bit of thought into moving Rod Smith to fullback and weighing the many benefits that can come from having a converted running back play fullback on offense.
One of my fellow writers here at Inside The Star, Jess Haynie, expressed his thoughts back in March about the Cowboys future at the fullback position, and I would definitely suggest taking a look at some of the options he suggests.
At this point though, it looks as if the Cowboys are willing to see what they have in Keith and Rod Smith and see if they can be the answer at fullback in 2016.
This will definitely be something to keep an eye on during the off-season and yet another position battle that could come down to how many different ways a certain player can contribute to the team.
The more you can do right?