Dan Campbell offers an interesting option to play fullback for the Lions

The Lions still have plans to use a fullback once in a while, and Dan Campbell offered a very interesting option.

The tilt toward the pass in the NFL has made the fullback a somewhat endangered species. Right now, the Detroit Lions don't have one on their roster after not re-signing Jason Cabinda, and at this point they won't be adding one.

When Cabinda spent most of last season on IR, the Lions turned to multiple options. Linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez got some run at fullback, with tight ends Brock Wright, Sam LaPorta and James Mitchell sprinkled in.

Before Wednesday's minicamp practice, via Pride of Detroit, head coach Dan Campbell conveyed the value he still sees in having a fullback.

"We like a fullback, if it makes sense and it’s somebody we know can help us at that position and can dictate to the defense,” Campbell said. “That’s what you’re trying to do. It forces a defense into a look you want, usually.

"Rodrigo is playing, he’s at the linebacker position competing. We’ve got a stable full of tight ends that we’re working with a little bit. So that (fullback) could be a tight end, it could be one of those guys.”

“(We’ll address it) when the time comes, but we’re not going to force it, either,” Campbell said. “And we’re not going go out and start looking through, scouring rosters and say, ‘Let’s go find a fullback.’ If the right guy shows, or the right guy is here, we’ll figure it out. If not, then we’ll use a tight end.”

Dan Campbell offers very interesting fullback option for the Lions

Campbell then suggested, if somewhat sarcastically based on his tone, an interesting option the Lions have considered at fullback.

Defensive tackle Alim McNeill.

"Mac can do it, it’s just a matter of do you want to do that?" Campbell said. "He can do it, it’s just, alright, how many plays you just play on this last drive? Is this a 10-play drive? Does he have his energy back to run out there at fullback? We’ve talked about it for a while, so you never know. We could throw him out there.”

McNeill does have some background on offense. He played some running back in high school, including 163 yards and eight touchdowns on 20 carries as a senior.

He was obviously a little smaller then, but check this out:

It's clear McNeill won't play fullback if it means sacrificing any of his effectiveness as a force on the Lions' defensive line. But the mention of his name as an option to take some snaps there brings a fun angle to an otherwise mundane conversation about the position.


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