As our Position Outlook series continues, we take a look at the Ravens’ fullbacks. These players will be paving the way for running backs Ray Rice and Willis McGahee as they try to wear down opposing teams with a smashmouth running game. In addition to their blocking responsibilities, the fullbacks will be called on to carry the ball, catch the ball, and possibly even throw the ball if Cam Cameron is feeling a little frisky.
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After two Pro Bowl seasons, Le’Ron McClain has his foot firmly planted as the Ravens’ starting fullback, but is looking to return to his form of 2008, where he had 902 rushing yards from 232 carries, 10 of which he scored touchdowns on. Taking a back seat to Ray Rice last season, McClain has appealed through Twitter to get more touches this season. He will be joined by undrafted free agent Mike McLaughlin, a former linebacker from Boston College who has been converted to the fullback position by the Ravens.
Click “Continue Reading” to see a full breakdown of each of these fullbacks and what their role will be with the Ravens in 2010.
|Le’Ron McClain||6’0”||260 lbs.||25||180 rush yds, 21 rec, 141 rec yds, 2 TD|
|Mike McLaughlin||6’0”||245 lbs.||23||49 tackles, 1 pass deflection***|
***: McLaughlin’s 2009 stats as a linebacker at Boston College
“Bring The Pain” McClain can sure bring it. A bruiser who was incredible running and catching the ball as a fullback/halfback in 2008, #33 was limited to short-yardage and late-game duty last season, mostly due to the emergence of Ray Rice as a versatile superstar. While it appears that McClain did nothing wrong in between the two seasons, he just lost the opportunity to put up the prolific numbers that he did in his incredible 2008 campaign. Now entering his 4th season as the starting fullback, McClain has established himself as one of the league’s best in both gaining the yards and helping his other backs gain them. We’ll see if he gets more touches this season, but regardless, he’s a great asset to the team.
A two-year defensive captain at Boston College, McLaughlin had a prolific career as the linebacking force on the Eagles’ defense. A starter for two full years, and a key contributor for two others, McLaughlin always performed well at BC, but his game didn’t translate well to the NFL. With a slow 40-yard dash time (4.83) and subpar pre-draft workouts, he went undrafted. The Ravens being pretty much set at linebacker, they switched him to the fullback position, where they hope he will be able to learn quickly and efficiently. For such a big guy, McLaughlin does have some nice athletic ability, as evidenced by the play in the video below, which occurs about 15 seconds into the clip.