Many teams in the NFL don't even carry a fullback on their roster, but for the past oh... since I can remember, the Jacksonville Jaguars have kept a true fullback on the team. That's because for a while, the Jaguars were one of the better and more consistent rushing teams in the NFL, but over the past few years that's fallen off.
Some of that has been because the roster has deteriorated and some of that is because of the evolution of the NFL and that seems to be the case this year, with it looking likely that the team will go without a true fullback on the roster. The team didn't tender or re-sign Will Ta'ufo'ou and recently waived Brady Ewing. Then reports surfaced that the team would be using running back Toby Gerhart in a more fullback/h-back type role, but Gus Bradley kind of squashed any move to fullback.
"We're looking at having an extra tight end," Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley told Ryan O'Halloran of The Florida Times-Union on Thursday at a coaching clinic. "...if there is a fullback out there that would meet our needs and can do some of the things that we're going to ask them to do, we'll always be open to it."
The general feeling is that the team could line Gerhart up at the fullback "position" in some packages, like they did a few times last year, but it would be more to get his ability in pass protection and catching out of the backfield more so than using him as a lead blocker. It also means the team is likely to carry a fourth tight end on the roster, so they can carry a more blocking-centric player rather than a fullback.
One option for Gerhart that would make a ton of sense is for the Jaguars to use him in a similar fashion to how the Oakland Raiders have used Marcel Reece. Reece, while listed as a fullback on the depth chart, is much more of an h-back for the Raiders, meaning he gets some carries and catches the ball out of the backfield, but he's not generally going to be a lead blocker all the time like someone like Ewing or Will T would be.
Last season, only about 30 percent of Reece's snaps for the Raiders were run blocking while 64 percent of his snaps were on passing downs, including running a route out of the backfield on 86 percent of those snaps. With Gerhart's ability to catch out of the backfield, you would think that offensive coordinator Greg Olson, who had Reece at his disposal the last two seasons, would look to use him the same type of way.
In my opinion, this would be an excellent move for both the team and Gerhart. I think Gerhart will see more carries than Reece traditionally does as a running back, but it's also a way to get him on the field while other backs are on the field too, which gives Blake Bortles more options in the passing game.
This probably points to the Jaguars using more 11 (1HB/1TE) and 12 (1HB/2TE) personnel rather than the traditional 21 or 22 you see from teams who utilize a traditional fullback.