The Panthers have a big problem, stuck between a fan favorite who has contributed for 4 years here in the Carolinas and a rookie who is clearly the heir to the throne. If you have not figured out yet, I am talking about the fullback position. This is not an article to bash Tolbert and disrespect what he has done it is simply to highlight a young player and open eyes to a dwindling career.
Devon Johnson AKA ”Rockhead” is a bruising back who earned his name powering through competition for the Marshall Thundering Herd (JustJoan’s College Team). The name Rockhead was given to him by a coach in college after he knocked out a defender by lowering his shoulder and fighting through the hit! He spent his first 2 years in college as a blocking TE but in that time, he did have almost 300 receiving yards and caught 3 TDs. Then came his Junior year when he was moved to RB and went off! He rushed 206 times for 1767 yards and 17 TDs that is an average of 8.6 yards per carry he also had 6 catches for 120 yards and 2 TDs that is 20 yards per catch! He can catch he can rush and has the size standing at 6’1 238 and ran a 4.59!
Now he spent last season hurt after a fractured back held him to just 7 games but still had near 600 yards with 5 TDs, but we can all take notice that if he had not been injured he would have done the same thing and been in the top 5 RBs drafted in this draft.
Where He Fits:
The position for this big boy will be FB. One problem is that as mentioned in the beginning, coaches and fan favorite is in that spot already. Dave Gettleman has cut players of this caliber before, and after a poor year and fumbling in the Super Bowl, Tolbert's job may really not be the most secure. Now with having a young gun who can do all that you can do breathing down his neck he will have to earn his own job! Competition is always good.
I feel at the very least (for purpose of learning one of the more complex positions in the NFL as being a blocking and call carrying fullback) that Johnson may take the Wegher route and ride the inactive list as a way to not only help him but be used as insurance for injury and or poor performance. He could also make the roster a “TE” and be used in Ricky Brockels old role this is more unlikely and they will find it pointless to teach him one position and then switch him in one year. No matter how he makes this team I feel he is the next in line to be the next great Carolina Fullback, and since he is bigger faster and stronger than Mike at this point, don’t be shocked if Rockhead ends up being the top FB by mid way through the season! Follow me on Twitter at @jp_tre18
AKA The Pope