Fullbacks are a dying breed in the NFL. The position has continued to be phased out around the league with only a handful of teams still employing them. The Dallas Cowboys just so happen to be one of those teams who still value the position, but that could be changing with Jamize Olawale now a free agent.
With Jamize Olawale set to hit the open market, the Dallas Cowboys have to ask themselves how much value they put in the FB position moving forward. That’s not an easy question to answer. But, if we take a look at how much they’ve been utilized these past three years since the arrival of Ezekiel Elliott, the picture becomes a little clearer.
Fullback offensive snap percentage since the arrival of Ezekiel Elliott:
Jamize Olawale (2018) 10.59%
Keith Smith (2017) 12.02%
Keith Smith (2016) 12.76%
As you can see, the numbers speak for themselves. Even though the Dallas Cowboys continue to keep a fullback on their 53-man roster, they’re not being utilized often enough to justify keeping one around any longer. Of course, this is only a part of the story though.
First off, Ezekiel Elliott prefers to operate without a fullback. He likes to operate out of a single back set, which is one of the reasons why I believe we’ve seen the snap percentages from the fullbacks these last three years drop. But, that’s not all.
You may be surprised to hear this, but I think the Cowboys former Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan deserves quite a bit of the blame for not utilizing the fullback more often on offense as well. This is especially true with Jamize Olawale.
It was believed one of the main reasons the Cowboys decided to trade for Olawale last year was because of the versatility he would bring to the position. He was supposed to be yet another weapon on the offensive side of the ball, but we know now it didn’t work out that way. Instead, he was pretty much just a special teams player.
If it was me, I don’t think I would waste a roster spot on a fullback in 2019. I think I would rather carry more depth at a different position, maybe an extra wide receiver or linebacker for instance. But ultimately I’m not the one who’s going to make the decision. That could come down to the Cowboys new Offensive Coordinator, Kellen Moore.
No one really knows what to expect from Kellen Moore and the Dallas Cowboys offense this year. He could decide incorporating a fullback isn’t in his plans, or vice versa. I think we can agree on one thing though. If they do deploy a FB in 2019, they need to play more in order to justify the roster spot they’re taking up.