If there is one position at which the Jaguars could consider themselves “set,” running back may be it. With Maurice Jones-Drew they have one of the premier running backs in the league and with Rashad Jennings and Deji Karim, they appear to have strong developmental depth. The idea of drafting a running back may seem pointless, but anyone who is a true believer in BAP drafting, namely Gene Smith, can’t rule out the possibility of a running back being at the top of the board.
As such, the Jaguars have done their due diligence, showing interest in prospects at every position including a few running backs. Among those is Auburn’s Mario Fannin.
At 5’10, 231 pounds offers the ideal size for an every downs running back or a possible conversion to fullback. He was considered to be one of the top blocking backs in the nation, but unfortunately for Fannin, he was considered a late round pick due to a lack in speed and the fact that he was overshadowed by Cam Newton in the Auburn offense.
His stock was boosted significantly, however, by a strong combine showing that displayed much more athleticism than was expected of him. The running back that was supposed to have lackluster speed put up the second highest 40 time among running backs with a 4.36. He was expected by most to run in the 4.5 range.
His 37.5″ vertical ranked as the 5th best mark among running backs and shows he has enough strength in his lower body to be a strong power runner or blocker in the NFL. The question now is whether Fannin is going to be a more effective runner or blocker in the NFL.
Greg Jones was a running back in college that made a transition to fullback for the NFL due to his superior physical skill set and strong blocking ability. Fannin may be able to make the same transition. He runs too upright right now to immediately make an impact as a fullback, but he can be brought along by NFL coaches. Or he could be a running back at the next level as was displayed by his 4.36 40 yard dash time.