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2015 NFL DRAFT
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Tony Fiammetta

Height: 6-0 | Weight: 245 | College: Syracuse
 
Copyright NFLDraftScout.com, distributed by The Sports Xchange
Overview

The team's starting fullback his last two years, Fiammetta did not get many opportunities to touch the ball, but the team captain developed into one of the Orange's few bright spots. He also proved to be a capable receiver coming out of the backfield, as the Athletic Director's Honor Roll member pulled down 28 combined passes as a junior and senior.

Fiammetta was rated the 25th-best overall prospect in the Mid-Atlantic region by Super Prep during his senior year at Walkersville High School, but missed most of season after he suffered a left leg fracture in the season opener. He rushed for 144 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries in that game before being sidelined.

Fiammetta added All-East Region accolades from Prep Star as the team captain during his junior year. In four seasons with the football team, he gained 499 yards on 60 carries 8.32 avg) and posted 12 touchdowns. He lettered on the wrestling team as a junior, competing in the 215-pound weight class. He also lettered four times as a midfielder for the school's lacrosse team.

Fiammetta enrolled at Syracuse in 2004, performing on the scout team. In 2005, he saw action with the special teams in 10 contests, recording one solo tackle in the season finale vs. Louisville. He played in every game as a reserve fullback in 2006, gaining just 15 yards on eight carries, but also returned three kickoffs for 32 yards (10.7 avg).

As a junior, Fiammetta earned eight starting assignments in 11 games, sitting out the Buffalo game as a precaution after suffering a concussion vs. Rutgers. He only carried three times for 8 yards, coming up with 12 receptions for 75 yards (6.2 avg) while registered four touchdown-resulting blocks and 39 knockdowns.

In 2008, Fiammetta started 12 contests, missing the South Florida clash due to a left leg contusion. He made the most of his five rushing attempts, generating 66 yards (13.2 avg) and also pulled down 16 passes for 127 yards (7.9 avg) and his only touchdown for his career. He continued to excel on special teams, causing two fumbles while making four tackles (3 solos).

Analysis

Positives: Very solid build in the upper and lower bodies with long arms. Lines up with his hand down on the line, as well as in motion and in the backfield. Quick to get to the edge when in motion. Takes outs the linebackers and safeties in the hole with a nice pop. Sustains his blocks through the whistle by locking on and moving his feet. Good hands, and can adjust to low throws or those behind him. Runs through cut blocks in the open field. Quick set in pass protection; able to handle oncoming blitzers. Sorts through trash to neutralize the middle linebacker, and has the strength to put him to the ground.

Negatives: Not the wide-chested thumper some teams prefer. A bit slow getting into his routes as a receiver. Gives good effort blocking on the line, but gets ripped off too often. Will be more effective in an H-back or true fullback position because of his lack of height. Whiffs too much as a cut blocker. Lacks flexibility and lateral quickness, which allows defenders to run around or get off his blocks in space.

Compares To: LAWRENCE VICKERS, Cleveland -- Fullback is becoming an endangered species in the NFL, and while some teams might look to convert Fiammetta to an H-Back, his route running just isn't up to snuff to handle those duties. He is better served on dump-offs as a receiver and has proven that he is incapable of carrying the ball. He is an efficient lead blocker thanks to quick feet and impressive strength, but must be conscious of playing at a low pad level to prevent defenders from neutralizing him and using him to clog the rush lane.

Scouting Report

GENERAL REPORT: GRADE: 5.96

Body Structure: Fiammetta has a rare-sized, wide, thick frame with good upper body muscle development, thick thighs and calves and muscular arms, but just adequate balance for a player his size. His frame has reached maximum development capacity, but he is still adding power. He has natural muscles and minimal body fat, doing a good job of passing the eye test.

Athletic Ability: For his position, Fiammetta shows good quickness, but just adequate balance. He has too much tightness in his hips, but demonstrates average body control coming out of his stance, good acceleration to the holes and the initial burst needed to get into the rush lanes. He plays much quicker than his timed speed, especially when stepping up to lead through the rush lanes. He shows good acceleration in the second level and good, functional strength. He is a bit of a liability as a short-yardage runner, as he gets too upright in his stance and his hip stiffness is evident when he struggles to adjust to the ball in flight as a receiver. GRADE: 5.4

Football Sense: Fiammetta is a very smart player, garnering Academic Director's Honor Roll recognition as a senior. He shows very good ability to learn and retain plays, along with above average field vision and the ability to adjust on the move. He plays with good strength and explodes into defenders on contact. GRADE: 6.5

Character: Fiammetta has no off-field issues and displays an attitude where football is very important to him. He comes from a supportive family and has developed into a leader by example type. He is well-liked by teammates and the coaching staff, who say he is the most stable character on the team. GRADE: 6.0

Competitiveness: Fiammetta has a nasty attitude as a blocker, constantly looking for defenders to attack, but can get a bit reckless with his hands, which sees him pushed back when he starts swinging wildly. He sees coverages develop quickly and keeps his head on a swivel, doing a nice job of adjusting to the blitz, but is not an effective cut blocker due to his lack of lateral agility needed to angle and redirect. He will play with pain and has an aggressive nature, but is not the type that will trash talk on the field. GRADE: 5.9

Work Habits: Fiammetta is a hard worker in practices and the weight room. He is a team-first type, coachable and displays a fighter's mentality in the trenches. He is a self-motivated sort who is durable, strong and focused. He can handle hard coaching and shows good off-field training habits, evident by his performances in the weight room and the speed agilities at the NFL Combine (just failed to impress in the shuttle and three-cone drills). GRADE: 6.0

ATHLETIC REPORT: GRADE: 5.27

Initial Quickness: Fiammetta has good quickness off the ball and to the hole, but needs to attack the line at a lower pad level. His burst and leg drive to the line allows him to quickly gain advantage on the defender as a lead blocker, when he does not get too upright. His ability to get out on the edge allows him to quickly pick up stunts and games in pass protection, but must do a better job of keeping his hands inside his framework to generate better force behind his punch. GRADE: 5.6

Acceleration/Burst: Fiammetta has more built-up speed than instant acceleration, but gets into the holes quickly. In the second level, he has the quickness to stalk, but will struggle to neutralize the linebackers as an upfield blocker because of stiff hips and his upright stance that causes him to not lead with his shoulder. He is more of a straight-line runner with minimal cutting ability, and in rare chances as a runner he did not generate enough burst through the line of scrimmage to make the initial tackler miss. GRADE: 5.0

Instincts/Balance: Fiammetta has adequate balance and needs to stay lower in his pads upon contact. When he does sink his weight, he keeps his leg base wide and does a very nice job of delivering forearm shots to clear out the rush lanes. He gives a strong effort widening the off-tackle hole and shows good aggression in attempts to sustain. He does a good job of locating short-area targets and reading keys when lead blocking, but must learn to take better angles as a cut blocker. GRADE: 5.8

Inside Running: Fiammetta is best as a head-on runner, as he fails to show enough pick-and-slide agility to bounce off tackle. He will generally run high in his pads, and he can be pushed back in the hole when he does not generate enough leg drive to move the pile. He is just the type of player you want as a lead blocker, but it's doubtful he can handle short-yardage rushing chores (89 yards and no touchdowns on 16 carries for his career, but one was a 58-yarder). GRADE: 4.4

Outside Running: He is more of a north-south runner, if that, and has never shown in college or the prep ranks that he could be counted on to carry the load, even in short-yardage situations. GRADE: 4.4

Elusiveness: There is not much shake or wiggle to Fiammetta when he does get an opportunity to run or catch the ball. He might be good to make at least one cut, but is the type that would prefer to run over a defender rather than around him. GRADE: 4.5

Tackle-Breaking Strength: Fiammetta is more powerful as a lead blocker than as a ball carrier. He has good power to move the pile when he keeps a low pad level and will not hesitate to toss his body around. He gets good leverage and explosion on contact when he does not get upright in his stance (will get pushed back when he does). He is better blocking inside than in space, as he shows better angling in the short area than on the second-level moves. GRADE: 6.3

Tendency to Fumble: This category does not apply, as he did not get enough carries to get a good evaluation.

Receiving Skills: Fiammetta could see some activity as an H-back due to his ability to settle in the soft spots and secure the ball with his large hands. He is not able to adjust to the ball on longer patterns, struggling to twist and turn to look the ball in. He is not thrown the ball much, but shows good ball security and hands. GRADE: 5.6

Route Running : On dump-offs and screens, he is a quality safety valve, but on other patterns he fails to live up to his timed speed and struggles to locate the ball or adjust to outside the shoulder throws. GRADE: 4.8

Blocking Ability: Fiammetta does a good job of moving his feet and using his hands to lock out defenders in attempts to widen the rush lane as a lead blocker. He shows good aggression into the hole, but must work on keeping his center of gravity lower. When he stays low, he can explode behind his blocks and move out the pile. He will get a little wild with his hands, but when he keeps them inside the frame he generates enough punch to stymie the pass rushers and blitzers. GRADE: 6.3

Compares To: LAWRENCE VICKERS, Cleveland -- Fullback is becoming an endangered species in the NFL, and while some teams might look to convert Fiammetta to an H-Back, his route running just isn't up to snuff to handle those duties. He is better served on dump-offs as a receiver and has proven that he is incapable of carrying the ball. He is an efficient lead blocker thanks to quick feet and impressive strength, but must be conscious of playing at a low pad level to prevent defenders from neutralizing him and using him to clog the rush lane.

OVERALL GRADE: 5.38

--Report by Dave-Te' Thomas

Career Notes

Fiammetta started 18 of 45 games at Syracuse … Rushed for 89 yards on 16 carries (5.56 avg) and collected 28 passes for 202 yards (7.1 avg) and a touchdown … Recorded five tackles (4 solos) and two forced fumbles … Registered 108 knockdowns and 11 touchdown-resulting blocks during his final two seasons.

2008 Season

All-American first-team choice by Pro Football Weekly … Member of the Athletic Director's Honor Roll … Elected team captain … Started ten of the eleven games he appeared in, coming off the bench vs. Penn State, as he also sat out the South Florida clash with a left leg contusion … Registered seven touchdown-resulting blocks for a ground game that only scored eleven times during the season, producing 69 knockdowns, a team-high … Gained 66 yards on five carries (13.2 avg) and made sixteen catches for 127 yards (7.9 avg), including one touchdown … Recorded four tackles (3 solos) and caused two fumbles.

2008 Game Analysis

Akron … Snared two passes for 13 yards while also rushing twice for 3 yards … Helped the ground game total 218 yards … Flattened linebacker Seam Fobbs to spring tailback Curtis Brinkley for a 1-yard score that capped an 11-play, 70-yard second quarter series.

Penn State … Caught two passes for 10 yards, but made his most damage on the punt coverage unit, posting two tackles … Stripped the ball from Anthony Scirotto on a 10-yard punt return late in the second quarter, setting up a Syracuse 44-yard field goal with 1:47 left in the first half.

Northeastern … Grabbed two passes for 29 yards … Had eight knockdowns for a ground game that produced 271 yards, clearing the rush lane used by Curtis Brinkley for a 3-yard touchdown run late in the third stanza.

Louisville … Had two receptions for 27 yards, scoring his first touchdown on an 8-yard toss from Cam Dantley that concluded a 7-play, 67-yard fourth quarter drive … Earlier in the first quarter, he leveled defensive tackle Adrian Grady on tailback Curtis Brinkley's 2-yard scoring run that capped a 74-yard, 6-play possession.

Notre Dame … Gained 17 yards on two receptions and upended linebacker Maurice Crum on a second quarter 1-yard touchdown run by Curtis Brinkley, bringing an end to a 13-play, 81-yard drive.

Cincinnati … Closed out his career with a 58-yard reception that set up a Syracuse 33-yard field goal late in the second quarter … Stripped the ball from punt returner D.J. Woods at the Cincinnati 40 after a 6-yard return.

2007 Season

Fiammetta appeared in eleven games, including eight starts, as he sat out the Buffalo contests after suffering a concussion … Only carried three times for eight yards, but caught twelve passes for 75 yards (6.2 avg) … Made four touchdown-resulting blocks and 39 knockdowns for a running unit that scored only five times for the season.

2007 Game Analysis

Gained 18 yards on four catches vs. Illinois, followed by a 10-yard reception the following week vs. Louisville … Added one catch for 8 yards in each of the West Virginia and Pittsburgh contests … Had a 6-yard grab vs. Rutgers and a 3-yard carry vs. South Florida … Gained 4 yards on a rushing attempt and 4 yards on a catch vs. Connecticut … Finished the season with three receptions for 21 yards vs. Cincinnati.

2006 Season

Appeared in 12 games as a reserve fullback, gaining 15 yards on eight carries (1.9 avg) … Added 32 yards on three kickoff returns (10.7 avg) … Ran for 10 yards on two tries vs. Wake Forest and had a 4-yard gain vs. Iowa … Had a season-long 16-yard kickoff return vs. Louisville … Rushed twice for 4 yards vs. Cincinnati.

2005 Season

Appeared in ten games with the punt coverage unit, but his only statistics was the result of a solo tackle vs. Louisville in the season finale.

2004 Season

Red-shirted as a freshman.

Injury Report

2003: Missed all but the season opener of his high school senior year due to a left leg fracture.

2007: Sat out the Buffalo game (10/20) due to a concussion.

2008: Did not play vs. South Florida (10/18) due to a left leg contusion.

Agility Tests

Combine: 4.58 in the 40-yard dash … 1.53 10-yard dash … 2.62 20-yard dash … 4.49 20-yard shuttle … 7.31 three-cone drill … 34-inch vertical jump … 9'4" broad jump … Bench pressed 225 pounds 30 times … 31-inch arm length … 9 3/8-inch hands.

High School

Attended Walkersville (Md.) High School, playing football for head coach Hal Grau … Rated the 25th-best overall prospect in the Mid-Atlantic region by Super Prep during his senior year, but missed most of season after he suffered a left leg fracture in the season opener … Rushed for 144 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries in that game before being sidelined … Added All-East Region accolades from Prep Star as the team captain during his junior year … In four seasons with the football team, he gained 499 yards on 60 carries 8.32 avg) and posted 12 touchdowns … Lettered on the wrestling team as a junior, competing in the 215-pound weight class … Also lettered four times as a midfielder for the school's lacrosse team.

Personal

History major, earning 2008 Athletic Director's Honor Roll recognition … Son of Esther and Vince Fiammetta … Born Placido Anthony Fiammetta on 8/22/86 in Hawaii … Resides in Walkersville, Maryland.

 
Latest News
04/28/2009 - A closer look at the Panthers' picks: Round 4/128 -- Tony Fiammetta, FB, 6-0, 245, Syracuse...The Panthers view him as a possible long-term replacement for starting fullback Brad Hoover, who at 33 years old might begin to show some wear and tear. Hoover's still the guy, but with as much as the Panthers run the ball it would help to have someone to take the pressure off him.

04/09/2009 - He is an excellent lead blocker and pass protector who has good quickness but plays too upright to be a reliable short-yardage runner. Fiammetta has enough burst to get into the hole as a runner, but he won't be selected by anybody looking for a ballcarrier. His best time in 40 yards at the combine was 4.58 seconds. His 34-inch vertical jump demonstrates his power and explosion, and his 30 repetitions with 225 pounds on the bench press shows his upper-body strength. He uses those abilities to take out linebackers and safeties with lead blocks, and he is willing and able to take on any size defender on a blitz. Fiammetta started 18 of his 45 college games. He carried 16 times in his career for 89 yards, adding 28 catches for 202 yards. He is a high-effort player but has limited upside in the NFL. - Frank Cooney, The SportsXchange, NFLDraftScout.com

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