Dallas Cowboys fullback roster evaluation.
Starter: Oliver Hoyte - I’m placing Hoyte in the starter’s role only because he was the starter at the end of the year. Personally, I don’t believe he will be the starter in 2008, that role will either go to Deon Anderson or a player currently not on the roster. Hoyte was a former ILB that was moved to the offensive side of the ball under the previous coaching regime and remained there for 2007. Hoyte’s skills as a FB are limited to blocking; he doesn’t present a threat as a ball-carrier or a receiver out of the backfield. Even Hoyte’s main strength, blocking, has flaws. He’s a very willing and physical blocker, and when he hits a defender with proper leverage he can deliver a devastating blow. But too often he fails to find the correct defender to block in order to open a hole and he can also take a bad angle in his blocking that limits the effectiveness of the hit. You have to credit Hoyte for switching positions and giving it everything he has but his limitations at the position creates problems for the Cowboys offense. I have no confidence that this experiment will last into 2008.
Deon Anderson – For a rookie, Anderson was doing a nice job before his season-ending injury. Coming out of college he was a stalwart on special teams and performed well in that role once he started gaining experience. As the season progressed, he showed more skills on the offensive side of the ball including catching passes out of the backfield. He’s a physical blocker even though he’s short in stature because he's built like a fire-hydrant. He has powerful legs which allow him to explode into blocks. When he took over the starting role due to Hoyte's injury he was progressing nicely in all phases of the position until his own injury cut his season short. I would expect him to challenge for the starter’s role in 2008 while continuing to contribute on special teams.
Ronnie Cruz – Recently signed by the Cowboys, he originally signed with the Kansas City Chiefs as an UDFA in 2004. I have never seen him play so I can’t properly evaluate him.