Everyone remembers Leonard Weaver right? He was the fullback the Eagles signed from the Seahawks, he was a leader and a playmaker in 2009. He was a first-team All-Pro.
Of course you remember. Leonard Weaver was a unique player, and was a great fit for the offense. He was injured on his first play in 2010. It ended his career. Shortly after, a little thing named Michael Vick happened.
With the season Vick had, it almost seems like everyone forgot Weaver.
In 2009, he rushed the ball 70 times for 323 yards, a 4.6 average and two touchdowns. He also caught 15 passes for 140 yards and two more scores.
What made Weaver so great with the Eagles was his history as a tight end. At 6’0″ and 251 pounds, he didn’t have the size to be an NFL tight end. But he brought his hands and blocking ability with him to the fullback position.
He also brought very nimble feet that allowed him to have a long rush of 41 yards and a long reception of 59. Weaver was a fullback who was actually a weapon.
In this year’s draft, there is a similar player. That player is Temple fullback Evan Rodriguez.
Rodriguez is 6’2″ and 250 pounds. He is also a former tight end. He also has very quick feet and good speed, and great receiving ability. He hasn’t done a lot of lead blocking, but he can come across the formation and pull, and he can get downfield and block at the second level.
In his three seasons with the Owls, he caught 70 passes for 882 yards and seven touchdowns.
Owen Schmitt filled in admirably for Weaver, but he just doesn’t offer the same skills as a player. Rodriguez could fill the hole that Weaver left in both the running and passing game.
Everyone has focused on the defense, and rightfully so, that is what needs fixing, but Rodriguez could probably be gotten in the fifth round or later.
On top of his receiving, blocking and athletic ability, Rodriguez was a quarterback and a safety in high school. He has an understanding of the game from both sides of the ball, and a good feel for the game.
Now fullback obviously isn’t an urgent need, but that could be an unbelievable addition for an incredibly low risk.
In 2002, the Eagles drafted another lightly regarded local college kid who caught the ball out of the backfield. His name was Brian Westbrook and it worked out pretty well. Rodriguez will never be on the level of Westbrook, but he can provide Vick with another effective weapon.
Weaver was a huge piece of the offense in 2009, and maybe Evan Rodriguez can replace him in 2012.