The San Francisco 49ers will be using fullback Kyle Juszczyk in a variety of roles this fall. He’ll get work as a fullback and running, but also as tight end and receiver. He’ll do his share of lead-blocking, but he will also get plenty of working carrying and catching the ball.
Recently, Bleacher Report’s Gary Davenport took a look at each position around the NFL, and decided on the most dominant player at each. For fullback, Davenport went with Juszczyk. Other fullbacks in the discussion were James Develin, Patrick DiMarco, and John Kuhn.
Here’s what Davenport had to say about Juszczyk:
It's not very often that a Pro Bowl player who is the best in the NFL at what he does changes teams in free agency.
But Kyle Juszczyk isn't most players. He's the NFL equivalent of the dodo bird. A dying breed.
Juszczyk is a fullback—a very good fullback.
In addition to being the highest-graded fullback in the NFL last year at Pro Football Focus while a member of the Baltimore Ravens, Juszczyk was also the highest-graded pass-blocker. Juszczyk played the most snaps of any fullback in the NFL in 2016 by a sizable margin.
What really sets Juszczyk apart, though, is he's actually a factor in the offense—or at least he was with the Ravens a year ago.
In 2016, the 26-year-old hauled in 37 passes for Baltimore as a safety valve for Joe Flacco. That might not sound like a big number, but for a fullback in today's NFL, over two catches a game every game is quite a bit.
Juszczyk had 37 receptions last season, but his career high was 41 the season before. They’re short passes, hauling in 7.2 and 7.8 yards per catch, respectively, the past two seasons.
Juszczyk has a total of seven career rushing attempts, so he has not exactly viewed as a threat on handoffs. My guess is we won’t see much of that from him with the 49ers, but it will be interesting to see what they show in two-back sets with Juszczyk and one of the running backs. And realistically, they could go with even heavier sets, with two running backs and then Juszcyk in a tight end or receiver role.
The 49ers have a ton of flexibility with Juszczyk in the lineup. They rarely used two-back sets last year under Chip Kelly, but we can expect plenty of it this year. And as I mentioned above, that doesn’t preclude the possibility of Juszczyk coming on along with two running backs. We saw a lot of that kind of flexibility in Greg Roman’s offense. Kyle Shanahan brings a little something different to the table in terms of his philosophy, but we’ll see some similar mixes of creative personnel packages.