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2016 NFL Draft Profile: Nebraska Fullback Andy Janovich

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What do you mean they don't draft fullbacks?

Foster Farms Bowl - Nebraska v UCLA Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

If you actually leave the friendly confines of Nebraska, you may be stunned to find out there are people who believe the fullback is NOT the most important position on a football team.

I know. I had a hard time believing it too.

The truth of the matter is that the fullback is slowly disappearing as more colleges go to spread offenses and no-huddle. Even the NFL is slowly acquiescing to this trend as 1/3 of pro teams did not carry a fullback on their 2015 roster.

Over the past few years anywhere from 3-4 fullbacks are drafted. One outstanding prospect will usually go in the 4th or 5th round but most are relegated to the 6th or 7th. The most draftable (and long-lasting on NFL rosters)? Those that play a combo FB/tight end position.

This year's fullback class drew my attention more than normal. One - I am a Denver Broncos fan and their pathetic offense muddled along without a true fullback last year. I am convinced Gary Kubiak wants to change that situation. Two - I am a Nebraska fan who adores Andy Janovich as much as anyone else and wants to see him make his NFL dream become reality. Three - there are a couple of famous last names competing with our beloved Husker for NFL attention - namely Watt and Gronkowski. (Yes, the little brothers of THOSE guys).

Add in the fact that Northwestern's Dan Vitale is the coveted TE/FB combo and posted some impressive combine numbers, and you can see that there is some stiff competition for those limited draft spots that get used on fullbacks. Andy's draft prospects probably rest on how much teams like his special teams potential and limited (but promising) tape in the passing game.

NFL Combine Results

  • 40-yard dash - 4.81 seconds
  • Bench press - 30 reps (top performer for FB/RB)
  • Vertical jump - 34 inches
  • Broad jump - 119 inches
  • 3 cone drill - 7.28 seconds
  • 20 yard shuttle - 4.32 seconds
  • 60 yards shuttle - 11.95 seconds

Honors & Awards

  • Honorable-Mention All-Big Ten (Coaches, 2015)
  • Tom Novak Award Winner (2015)
  • Nebraska Lifter of the Year (2015)
  • Lunch Bucket Award (2015)
  • Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll (Spring 2013)

NFL.com draft profile

STRENGTHS

Rare running fullback with short-area wiggle to make defenders miss. Grinds through contact and can break tackles en route to grinding out additional yardage. Might have value as short yardage runner in pros. Runs feet through downhill contact on iso blocks. Can help as blocker in pass pro. Special teams cover specialist with 13 tackles this season. Can play elephant in pros and cover kickoffs. Weight room warrior.

WEAKNESSES

Could be limited by scheme fit. Doesn't have girth teams look for in hammer-­head lead blocker. More of a positional blocker than kick-­out blocker against edge setters. Has habit of ducking head into blocks. Limited experience in passing attack.

DRAFT PROJECTION

Rounds 6 or 7

Bottom line - Janovich is the #5 rated fullback by Walter Football (others have him lower although the NFL thought enough of him to invite him to the combine) and has a chance to be drafted late if a team sees value beyond the running game. If his special teams and limited passing game tape are enough, he could be locked up on a late round flyer. Just as likely, he will have his choice among undrafted free agent offers where he can pick the best situation.