Tyler Varga is an intriguing prospect for NFL teams heading into the 2015 NFL Draft.
At 5’11” and 222 pounds, Varga is a strong, solid running back who has managed to turn that into a successful college career at Yale as a running back…the kind that actually touches the ball.
For the NFL, he may be considered more for the other running back position. The one that blocks. The fullback position.
It’s a dying position. A dying art form, if you will. Powerful lead blockers are no longer seen as valuable in comparison to another pass catcher, another tight end, or (dare we say it) another halfback. Half of the teams in the NFL have done away with the position, opting to fill that roster spot with another player who fits a scheme that no longer requires a fullback.
In 2013, an article on Forbes noted that the fullback position has the second least number of players on it. That same article questioned the position’s future in the NFL, and rightly so.
As a fan of the Jacksonville Jaguars who watched Greg Jones pave the way for Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew, I have a soft spot for the position. Now that the Jaguars have let Will Ta’ufo’ou depart for free agency, the position is open.
So we turn back to Tyler Varga, the NCAA running back likely to turn NFL fullback.
This is a player that gets me excited about the position, much like Greg Jones did before. Varga could well be a hybrid player, getting a few carries but also being a lead blocker that provides some crucial road paving. The description at NFL.com gets me excited about his potential. Just listen to this visual:
"Muscular, well-defined physique. Has hands the size of an offensive lineman."
That’s a two-sentence teaser about a player that genuinely makes me excited.
ESPN’s Kevin Weidl noted at the Senior Bowl that Varga was outstanding in pass protection. Now I like fullbacks for their run blocking, mostly. Having an extra pass protector in the backfield for the Jaguars would be even greater, providing a more stable situation for Bortles to grow as a quarterback.
Now, I’m not advocating for a high round draft pick on a fullback. But that position needs to be filled for the Jaguars. It’s a position that still holds value for the team, especially if he is useful on passing downs as well. Denard Robinson and Toby Gerhart need a new best friend as well. Maybe it’s time the Jags returned to the draft to bring in a fullback.
Varga is projected to be a mid to late round pick.
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