Jalston Fowler's path to the NFL will be a hard one, but at least it is finally set: He's a fullback. And although fullbacks rank with kickers and punters when it comes to draft-day value, the fifth-year senior can at least focus on a single role in his final college season.
Le'Ron McClain, the former Alabama fullback who beat the draft odds to make a strong NFL career of the position, sees a lot of the skills in Fowler that helped him make it as a fullback.
"The guy can line up at one back and run the ball and he can go out the backfield and catch the ball," said McClain, according to al.com. "That's my favorite player right now since I heard they were bringing the fullback position well. I can't wait to see him do his thing this year."
After seven years in the NFL with three different clubs, McClain is a free agent hoping for an opportunity to play an eighth season. He's a rarity not only by the length of his career at one of the game's most physically demanding positions, but in how much he's been trusted to handle the ball, as well. A true blocking back at Alabama who was also a capable receiver, he had just 36 rushes in his entire college career, and 47 receptions. The Baltimore Ravens fed him 232 carries in his second NFL season alone, and he's had more than 350 in his career.
In other words, everything a guy like Fowler hopes for.
Fowler has been worked in all kinds of roles in his career, from fullback to running back to H-back. He even practiced a bit at linebacker early in his career. At 6-feet and 245 pounds, he's got the size for the role and did a lot of damage as a goal-line receiver last year, as well (five touchdowns on seven catches for just 15 yards).