After a brief hiatus from this feature, it's time to resume with who was the best Cleveland Browns fullback of the past decade. There aren't a lot of choices, but there are at least two pretty good candidates to choose from.
The criteria I used for fullbacks was a little more loose than what I used for quarterbacks and running backs. Basically, if you were labeled as a starting fullback for at least a season or two, you're listed.
Previous All-Decade Polls: Quarterbacks, Running Backs
1. MARC EDWARDS (2000)
When the Browns beat the Steelers 23-20 in the 2000 season, Edwards had a 21-yard touchdown reception from Tim Couch in the first quarter. That's all I remember besides his name; sorry folks!
2. MIKE SELLERS (2001)
Sellers was technically labeled as an "H-Back" for the year he was with us, but I'll put him under the fullback category since "H-Backs" aren't going to be receiving their own category. Note: Similarly, Aaron Shea, who was labeled as both an H-Back and a TE at points of his career, will be in the tight end category.
I really don't have much to remember or go off of regarding Sellers' one-year stay with the Browns. He is currently with the Washington Redskins though and has evolved into a Pro Bowl caliber player.
3. TERRELLE SMITH (2004-2006)
When Smith came to the Browns in 2004, it was a huge addition to the team after his efforts of blocking for Deuce McAllister and company with the New Orleans Saints. Lee Suggs rushed for a career-high 744 yards in Smith's first season with the team. The following year, Smith was the fullback in front of Reuben Droughns. Droughns ran for over 1,000 yards during the 2005 campaign, the first time such a feat had been accomplished on the Browns in 20 years.
The following year, the Browns began shifting their focus toward youth at the position when they drafted Lawrence Vickers. Smith still had a good season and an overall solid three-year stay with the Browns. He was never known for his pass-catching, but his blocks were refreshing as he was basically the Browns' first true fullback of the decade. After the Browns, he played for the Cardinals and was heavily used during the team's Super Bowl run last season.
4. CHARLES ALI (2007-2008)
Ali received the opportunity to start a few games during his time with the Browns when Vickers went down to injury. Although he wasn't necessarily a starting-caliber fullback, I always considered him an above-average fullback. There were even rumors during the 2008 season that the team might be able to trade him to a team looking for a starting fullback.
That was under the Romeo Crennel era. Ali received a shot to make the roster in Eric Mangini's camp, but it didn't happen. I don't think it was indicative of Ali's potential, but rather that Mangini didn't feel he needed two fullbacks on the roster. Ali is currently with the Baltimore Ravens.
5. LAWRENCE VICKERS (2006-2009)
Vickers, a sixth-round draft choice from 2006, ended up being a tremendous pick. When he became the starter in 2007, the same year that Jamal Lewis arrived, Vickers picked up where Terrelle Smith left off in terms of paving the way for a 1,000 yard rusher.
Funny enough, Vickers was often the topic of controversy during his first two seasons with the team. It wasn't because of anything he did, but because of the offensive gameplans. Vickers was known to have pretty good speed for a fullback, and whether he could succeed as a running back in the NFL remains to be seen. Instead of blocking though, we would consistently see the following plays called:
- Fullback sweep to the corner on 3rd-and-1
- Vickers option pass on 3rd-and-1
- Running backs lining up in single-back formation, with Vickers on the sideline
Things changed under mangini this season, particularly at the end of the year when Vickers supposedly bought into Mangini's system. In front of Jerome Harrison, it probably would not be a stretch to say that Vickers was blocking like he was the best fullback in the league.
Another fun fact: Vickers has three career receiving touchdowns; all of them came against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
These fullbacks played for the Browns during the decade but are not up for consideration in the poll due to their lack of tenure or playing time with the team. If you'd still like to comment on them, or if you believe one of them should be the all-decade quarterback instead, sound off in the comments section. (Note: I am not listing fullbacks who were only camp fodder).
- R.J. Bowers (2002-2003)
- Corey McIntyre (2004-2005)
Now it's time to cast your vote in the poll below, and then go ahead and explain your choice in the comments section
Please be aware that the considerations do not include the 1999 comeback season.