The days of Daryl “Moose” Johnson and the fullback position are all but over in the NFL. Traditional fullbacks are a dying breed in the league with very few teams carrying one on their 53-man roster any longer. The way things stand right now, it’s uncertain whether or not the Dallas Cowboys will be such a team.
After Jamize Olawale decided to become a 2020 opt-out last year the Dallas Cowboys pretty much played the entire season without a traditional fullback on the roster. Olawale was expected to reclaim his starting gig this year, but the Cowboys decided to make him a salary cap casualty earlier this offseason instead.
With Olawale out of the picture, the Cowboys now have to decide whether or not they want to carry a fullback on the roster this year, and if they do who they like for that job. As things stand right now, there are only two players listed as a fullback on the roster, Sewo Olonilua and Nick Ralston.
Sewo Olonilua was a linebacker, safety, and running back in high school before committing to TCU as a safety prospect. With the Horned Frogs Olonilua was mostly a part-time running back on third downs, sometimes taking direct snaps in short-yardage situations thanks to in large part his 6’3”, 240-pound frame. Now he’s trying to make the transition to fullback with the Cowboys.
As a rookie Olonilua spent most of his time on the Cowboys practice squad, but did appear in two games towards the end of the 2020 season. He ended up logging 35 snaps on special teams, but unfortunately didn’t receive any offensive snaps at fullback. With a year under his belt, he could be the favorite to earn the starting gig, however, he could have some competition.
Olonilua is still unproven and has little starting experience as a fullback in college or the NFL. He does, however, have the advantage of being in the Cowboys system for a year, which could give him a leg up on the competition. To earn a bigger role though in 2021 will most likely depend on his special teams ability.
Coming out of high school Nick Ralston joined Arizona State as a linebacker prospect. During his time with the Sun Devils he switched positions twice, first from linebacker to running back, and then from running back to fullback. That of course was all before he decided to follow his former offensive coordinator Billy Napier to Louisiana.
With the Ragin’ Cajuns, Ralston was listed as a tight end, but was utilized more as a H-back type of player, playing both as an in-line tight end and blocking fullback. In that role he ended up accumulating a career high with 15 catches for 100 receiving yards and four touchdowns, but only had one carry for one yard.
At 6’0”, 237 pounds Nick Ralston doesn’t offer the same kind of size Sewo Olonilua does, but he does have a little bit more experience playing the FB position. That experience could put him on even ground, even though Sewo has a year under his belt with the Cowboys. Ultimately though special teams is where he’s probably going to have to stand out.
The competition between Sewo Olonilua and Nick Ralston to hopefully become the Dallas Cowboys starting fullback in 2021 could be an interesting position battle to keep tabs on for the remainder of the offseason. It’s still unknown whether Dallas will carry a fullback on their final 53-man roster, so both of these players are really going to have to stand out to make sure the Cowboys aren’t one of those team who are making the fullback position obsolete.
Who’s your favorite to become the Dallas Cowboys starting FB in 2021?
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