Brian Leonard is not your ordinary running back.
He is white.
That might sound blunt and racially insensitive, but it's also true. There are plenty of white fullbacks on NFL rosters, but there is not one white running back who received carries -- other than fullbacks -- last season.
Leonard, a running back/fullback from Rutgers, hopes to change that.
|Brian Leonard's looking to make the leap from college fullback to NFL running back. (US Presswire)|
As Leonard prepares for the April 28 NFL Draft, he does so with the hope that teams aren't just pigeonholing him as a fullback. Even though he played that position the past two years, he's hoping teams see him more as a feature back.
"I don't consider myself just a fullback," he said. "I'm best with the ball in my hands. I can run it and catch it. Just using me as a lead blocker isn't getting the best out of me. I'll do it if that's what teams want, but it won't be getting the most out of me."
Fullbacks are rarely drafted high. So Leonard did something before the Senior Bowl to show scouts he wasn't just a fullback. He shed weight, showed up at 225 pounds, and proved that he was much more than just a linebacker-crunching blocker. The scouts said he had a good week in Mobile.
"He was much more explosive than I expected," said an AFC scout.
Fullbacks perform a thankless job, their car-crash blocks in the hole what helps to give all the glory to the running backs.
Who wouldn't want to be a running back then?
Leonard would like the chance. But the problem is white running backs have gone the way of the vinyl records and the Twist: prominent things of the 1960s that have faded away over time.
They're disappearing. They're as extinct as the New Zealand Laughing Owl.