The Arizona Cardinals have not had a fullback on the 53-man roster since trading Anthony Sherman to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013
With Bruce Arians’ departure and the Steve Wilks’ regime commencing, running back David Johnson will have a fullback blocking for him for the first time in his professional career. Now the Arizona Cardinals will have three of them.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter recently reported that the Arizona Cardinals have signed Derrick Coleman to a one-year deal and is expected to be the starting fullback.
Coleman entered the league as an undrafted free agent signee with the Minnesota Vikings in 2012. Since then, he has spent time with the Seattle Seahawks and, most recently, the Atlanta Falcons as their starting fullback.
Don’t expect him to be handed the job so easily. His four years of NFL experience does put him ahead of every other fullback on the Cardinals’ roster.
Just a week ago, the news surfaced that Penny is being converted from a running back to a fullback. He certainly has the size (6’1” 235lbs) and the physicality to his game that would make him an ideal candidate for the job.
But, he has no experience at the position. Asking him to become a blocker for David Johnson will be a steep learning curve. Just as Jared Veldheer struggled in convert from left tackle to right tackle, Penny’s situation isn’t much different.
The bright side about Penny is his ability to be an effective third-down running back. His physicality certainly makes up for his lack of speed but he is not dependable as a pass catcher. With Coleman on board, Penny will have have to make his mark on special teams to secure a roster spot.
The former Wisconsin Badger was tasked to block for Jonathan Taylor, who rushed for 1,977 yards and 13 touchdowns on 299 carries. He has to be given credit where its due.
He signed as an undrafted free agent with the Cardinals following the 2018 NFL Draft. His effectiveness in short-yardage situations and ability to be a serviceable pass catcher puts him above Penny in some respects.
His inconsistencies as a blocker doesn’t bode well for his chances to make the 53-man roster. He needs to get stronger in order to succeed in the NFL level. But, he should be good enough to make the practice squad.
The fullback position battle, unless it is settled with the Derrick Coleman signing, seems fairly one-sided right now. But with Steve Wilks and Mike McCoy’s offensive focus shifting towards a heavy run game, no stones will go unturned in their search for a fullback.