Part One of this week’s chat with the National Football Post’s draft expert Wes Bunting covers an intriguing fullback prospect who has popped onto the radar late, and a junior center who would jump to the top of his position ratings were he to declare.
Cowboys Nation: I’m looking at a piece you put up today, on Temple’s F-back, H-back, you call him a “new-age fullback” Evan Rodriguez. You talk up his versatility and I’m thinking this is exactly how Dallas uses its fullbacks, or wants to use its fullbacks.
When they get a guy who meets their profile, they use him in the backfield, in an I or an off-set I as the F-back. They’ll put him on the wing when they go double tight end, and they’ll flex him out into space. They want a guy who can block and catch, and they can either get one quality with their recent fullbacks, but not the other. This guy can apparently do all of those things. Tell us about him.
Wes Bunting: He reminded me at first of USC’s Stanley Havili, who came out last year. Havili was more of a finesse fullback; he was more of a running back than anything. This guy can catch the ball like Havili. He’s a bigger stronger kid, a similar athlete and he’ll get down and dirty.
This is the first time I’ve gotten a good look at Evan Rodriguez. I don’t know if I want to start with Temple tape or fullback tape today but he’s one guy I could start with ’cause he’s on both. He’s really good. They line him up at H-back and he’ll pull on running plays inside. He’s a former strong safety and quarterback in high school and a basketball player who could dunk.
He was 6’2”, 220 and now he’s up to 250 and he’s a really good athlete. He can run. He’s coordinated. He can play low. He’s got a snap when he plays as a tight end as an in-line Y. He can reach out to the second level and pull. They don’t ask him to be a traditional guy but I see enough qualities to his game that I certainly think he can develop into an inside F-back as well. He’s very good in that area.
Plus he can really catch the football. He can make plays down the field. He’s a unique athlete for the position and he’s got a physical nastiness to his game as well.
CN: Where do you project him?
WB: I’m thinking 5th to late rounds.
CN: Sounds like this guy could be a folk hero if he pans out, wherever he winds up.
WB: I’d go to bat for this guy. He really jumped out at me. He’s not a traditional guy. When they use a lead guy they use another player, but you see enough situations where he’s pulling where he acts as a lead guy. And he’s got the perfect fullback build.
He’s going to run well at the Combine. They have him at 4.67 and he looks a little faster to me, maybe low 4.6s. And he can go pluck the football. He’s a basketball guy. He’s my top-rated fullback now.
CN: I’m looking at your big board, which you’re updated and I’m impressed by how the guards have moved up. The Osemele’s, the Kevin Zeitlers, the Cordy Glenns, the Lucas Nixes. These guys are all in your top 20 now. Let me do the annual disclaimer. When you put this list together, this is your projection of how you think they will play as pros. This is not your prediction of where they will be drafted, correct?