We are currently in process of doing brief reviews of all of the free agents on the Cleveland Browns. Today, we take a look at a bruising fullback.
FB Lawrence Vickers
How and When He Joined the Browns: It seems like we just talked about Vickers since I ranked him No. 7 overall on the list of Browns' Draft Successes. In 2006, the Browns drafted Vickers in the sixth round of the draft. The team already had veteran Terrelle Smith on the roster, so the decision to take Vickers seemed like a move for the future.
Productivity Level Last Season: Vickers is never utilized quite as much as I would like him to be. As a blocker, I don't think we can complain about what he brought to the table last year. Some may believe fullback is not an important position, but Vickers regularly plays at an All-Pro level as a blocker. His pass catching was pretty terrible last season though -- worse than I remember it in the past. I attribute some of that to some poor routes for him though; more times than not, he would be running in the flat and have to lose all momentum reaching back to try to make a catch.
Why Keeping Him Could Make Sense: Since coming to Cleveland, Vickers has paved the way for Jamal Lewis, Jerome Harrison, and Peyton Hillis. Each of those backs has had a lot of success and Vickers has remained healthy with no qualms about going head-to-head with tough linebackers on the Steelers and the Ravens. When you have a guy playing at such a high level and he isn't necessarily looking to go elsewhere, why not bring him back? He has received criticism for his pass catching in the West Coast Offense, but I think he can catch the ball fine; he was just put in poor situations last year in the passing game.
What the Browns Should Do: Questions about Vickers' future in Cleveland have been raised since the end of last season. The Browns did not offer him a tender like they did to a few other players. The team drafted fullback Owen Marecic in the fourth round. Maybe Marecic would make a fine starter, but we already know Vickers can get the job done. If we want our running game to stay smooth, keep Vickers and have him block, and use Marecic as the Belichick spell back/stud special teamer.
Now it's your turn -- vote in the poll below on whether or not the team should try to re-sign Lawrence Vickers!