On Monday, general manager Thomas Dimitroff spoke to 92.9 The Game about a variety of topics, including the fullback position. Patrick DiMarco is off to Buffalo, and Dimitroff said the Falcons will have an athlete at that position who, like DiMarco, is versatile and has leadership ability.
With that in mind, here are five players Atlanta could target at fullback.
Freddie Stevenson: At Florida State, Stevenson helped star running back Dalvin Cook develop into a top draft prospect. He could get drafted, too, as some outlets project he’ll go between the fifth and seventh rounds. Stevenson helped the Seminoles run the football when called upon, recording 90 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 13 carries in 2016. His well-rounded skill set turned some heads at January’s Senior Bowl.
Jerome Felton: ESPN’s Vaughn McClure wrote last week that Felton, a former Bill, could replace Patrick DiMarco in 2017. Felton might be able to help with the ground game, as he earned a positive run blocking grade on Pro Football Focus in seven of his past eight NFL seasons. He developed strong chemistry with Buffalo LeSean McCoy and was instrumental in opening up holes for the talented running back. Felton, a Germany native, also made some nice gains as a pass-catcher when called upon, notching 57 receiving yards on six receptions in 2016 – a 9.5 average.
Sam Rogers: A former walk-on at Virginia Tech, Rogers became one of the premier fullbacks in college football over the last two years and is now one of the best players at his position in the 2017 NFL Draft class. In 2016, he gained 283 rushing yards on 67 carries, along with 301 receiving yards and two touchdowns on 24 receptions. Scouts believe he has what it takes to line up on all three downs in the pros. He has big-play ability, too: Against Ohio State in 2015, he reeled in a pass on a wheel route and ran it 51 yards for the score.
Trey Millard: A four-year starter at Oklahoma, Millard was an intriguing piece of the Sooners’ offense from his freshman debut. He finished his collegiate run with 5.5 yards per carry, 9.7 yards per catch, 13 touchdowns and 1,215 yards from scrimmage. While scouts considered him a potential third- or fourth-round pick in the middle of his senior campaign, Millard tore his ACL in the middle of 2013, ending his time with Oklahoma.
The 49ers drafted him in the seventh round the following spring, but he didn’t stick around San Francisco. The 6-foot-2, 247-pounder signed with the Chiefs last season; however, a sprained knee in a preseason game required him to be carted off the field. Kansas City declined to renew his contract on March 9. If healthy, Millard could make some noise in the NFL.
Nate Iese: Projected to go in the seventh round by NFLDraftScout.com, Iese may have the kind of athleticism and versatility Atlanta likes. In 2016, after moving from fullback to tight end, he secured 25 receptions for 400 yards and four touchdowns. He plans on returning to fullback in the NFL. With his pass-catching ability, he could do a lot of damage in the right offensive scheme.