Free Agency: Fullbacks

The Giants have quite a few needs that free agency could address, but I do not necessarily think the fullback position is one of them. That’s not to say an upgrade is impossible, it’s just not a pressing need given the Giants’ talent and game plan on offense. But, for arguments sake, let’s take a look at the fullback situation and see if we can’t make some positive changes.

Let’s start by looking at the two current fullbacks, Madison Hedgecock and Bear Pascoe. After a dominant first year with the team, Hedgecock’s impact has waned over the years, mostly due to his inability to stay healthy during the last two seasons.

When Hedgecock’s hamstring became an increasing problem, Bear Pascoe stepped in and had a terrific season. Ranked at number 12 among fullbacks according to profootballfocus.com, Pascoe earned a +1.6 pass rating.  Not bad for a tight end! Just look at the kind of season both Bradshaw and Jacobs had, and that’s with an aging, injury-plagued o-line. And what’s better, Pascoe did something that Hedgecock couldn’t…catch the ball. In 2010 he had 9 receptions for 72 yards, which is nothing spectacular in itself but a big improvement from Hedgecock’s zero. But, given the fact that most of these yards came in the second half of the season when most receivers were injured, these yards were extremely helpful.

Needless to say I would be pretty happy if the Giants stuck with Pascoe this season as the permanent fullback. But, there are a couple fullbacks who were ranked higher than Pascoe, so let’s take a look and see if either of these guys would be an improvement.

Vonta Leach – Houston Texans
Leach was given a +5.2 overall grade, ranking him third among all fullbacks. While he is not always an even player from season to season, he is a mostly dominant blocker. The Texans had a strong season in 2010 due in part to their running game and Leach’s contribution there. A team like the Giants would benefit from a guy like this who can dominate in a run-first offense. He hasn’t had any receptions in a couple years, but since the Giants rarely get creative in this area it might not matter.

Korey Hall – Green Bay Packers
Ranked at number four is a guy with a super bowl ring and would therefore fit in with fellow recent champions. The Packers simply had too much talent to utilize Hall to the best of his ability, who nevertheless earned +3.7 overall ranking. He was mostly used on special teams, where he recorded 10 tackles on kick and punt returns. For this reason alone I would be excited to see Hall in a blue jersey and helping out the struggling special teams unit.

Both of these guys could be strong additions to any team they sign with. While I like that Pascoe is a tight end and therefore has experience catching the ball, I can see the appeal in signing Hall because of his special teams experience. It all comes down to whether the Giants could address some of these needs separately from the fullback position. Overall, I do believe Pascoe is the best option. If the Giants have money to throw around, picking up Hall would be the better investment for the team’s overall needs.

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