Training camp preview: Fullbacks

Posted Jul 19, 2014

There appears to be one opening on the roster for a fullback and all three options bring something unique to the table.

On the roster: Jed Collins, Montell Owens and Chad Abram

Montell OwensMontell Owens (Photo: Gavin Smith)

Best Competition: All three are in the mix. Who gets the spot?

There appears to be one opening on the roster for a fullback and all three of the above mentioned players bring something unique to the table.

Collins played in New Orleans the last three seasons. Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi is familiar with him and Collins is familiar with this offense. That gives him the edge, in my opinion.

Owens is a team leader and can play both fullback and running back if needed. He’s also one of the best special team players in the NFL. He missed all but one game last season with a knee injury and he'll probably have to prove he can be more of a traditional fullback to find a spot on the roster.

Abram is the undrafted rookie with terrific hands and exceptional speed and athleticism. The ability to catch the ball out of the backfield will be an important role.

2013 Stats
Jed Collins 16 15 45 1 14 24 0
Montell Owens 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
*Chad Abram 14 7 29 0 9 73 3
*college statistics

Twentyman’s take: The Lions are going to feature a fullback is some way, shape or form a lot more than Lions fans have gotten used to seeing over the last few seasons.

Consider this, last year in New Orleans’ offense, Collins was in the game for nearly 50 percent of the snaps in three of their last four games down the stretch.

The guy who wins the job has to be good in protection, he has to be able to pave the way for Reggie Bush, Joique Bell, Theo Riddick and others and he has to be able to catch the ball out of the backfield. It's a multidimensional position.

Collins has proven he can do all three in the NFL and his experience in this offense can’t be dismissed, but Owens and Abram will give him a run for his money in camp.

By the numbers:

3-0: The Lions record in 2013 when they recorded a 100-yard rusher

39: Runs resulting in negative yardage last season, which ranked 15th in the NFL

70.4: Conversion rate for the Lions offense on 3rd and 1 plays last season. They were 12-of-15 running (80 percent) in those situations and 7-of-12 passing (58.3).


"He has an experience level playing the position. He has an experience level in a lot of things we’re going to do and he’ll be good at the things we’re going to ask him to do.”

-- Lions running backs coach Curtis Modkins on Jed Collins