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Alabama Football 2015 NFL Draft Profiles: Jalston Fowler

A prototypical specimen for a dying position, Jalston Fowler is considered one of the top fullback prospects in the 2015 draft. But what does that mean?

Jalston Fowler bulling past a Western Kentucky defender
Jalston Fowler bulling past a Western Kentucky defender
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Fullback/ Running Back

Combine Height/ Weight: 5'11"/ 254 pounds

Hand Size: 10.5 inches

Arm Length: 32.75 inches

40 Yard Dash Time: 4.94 (Combine)

Bench Press Reps (of 225 lbs): 23 reps

Vertical Jump: 33.5 inches

Broad Jump: 114.0 inches

Short/ Long Shuttle: 4.40 seconds/ DNP

3-Cone Drill: 7.56 seconds

2014 Season: Played in 14 games at fullback/ H-back. Rushing: 12 carries for 69 yards (5.8 yards per carry). Receiving: 11 receptions for 129 yards and two touchdowns (11.7 yards per catch).

Strengths: Fowler is very adept at reading defenses and locating his target against both pass rush and in the running game, doesn't get confused by movement and defensive obfuscation very often. He is a strong iso blocker who performs well in space. His good size helps him physically match linebackers in blocking, and he has the size and leverage advantage to be a devastating blocker. As a runner, he has good balance, quickness and vision for a man of his size and can generally run through the first tackle. Good hands as a receiver, Fowler was used as a short yardage receiving threat near the goal line over the last two years, accounting for seven TDs in 2013 and 2014.

Weaknesses: Despite his size and physicality, Fowler oftentimes lands "thudding" blocks rather than hand-fighting and tying up his target. When run blocking, he sometimes doesn't maximize his leverage potential due to improper mechanics. He tends to particularly struggle in the confined spaces of the short-yardage run game. A man of sub-6' height and nearly 250 pounds should win more leverage battles than not, but Fowler loses leverage against elite linebackers, which he will face each game in the NFL. His build can be used to generate great blocking power, but his mechanics must be refined to get the most bang for the buck.

Verdict: Of concern for Fowler is his position: the fullback role is of decreasing importance in the NFL, with tight ends assuming many receiving duties and single back sets featuring he running back becoming the norm. Fowler is not fast enough to be a pure running back, nor big or athletic enough to play tight end at an elite level. Will a team be willing to take a chance on a guy who plays a dying position and needs considerable work on his blocking fundamentals? For much of 2014, he was considered the top available fullback in this year's draft...but what does that mean, really? Fullback is not a position of high demand, so it's doubtful the top fullback will see selection on Day 1. If there's a team out there that needs a fullback, Fowler is a great choice. For the right team, he could be a great catch. But the waning nature of the position portends a later round, and possibly even free-agency, despite J-Fowl's considerable upside.