Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Fullback Ahmard Hall visits Dolphins

In 2011, the Miami Dolphins released veteran Lousaka Polite went the entire regular season without a true fullback, instead using tailback hybrid Lex Hilliard in a lead-blocking and short-yardage role. Meanwhile, Joe Philbin's offense in Green Bay routinely kept three fullbacks on the roster.

Perhaps that's why the Dolphins are exploring potential fullback options in free agency, as Ben Volin reports the Dolphins hosted long-time Titans lead blocker Ahmard Hall on Wednesday.

A former United States Marine and walk-on at the University of Texas, Hall went undrafted in 2006 but signed with the Tennessee Titans and quickly earned himself a role as the team's starting fullback. In six pro seasons, Hall has officially started 40 of 85 games and was suspended four games to begin the 2011 season for PEDs, although he maintains the positive test was the result of a supplement to stay awake during a long drive.

Primarily a lead blocker to Travis Henry, LenDale White and eventually Pro Bowler Chris Johnson, Hall has failed to rush for a touchdown in his career but has amassed 80 rushing yards, 561 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns.

Despite Johnson's past success in Tennessee, Hall hasn't been a reliable lead blocker for a few years now and the Dolphins would be wise to pass on signing the veteran regardless of their plans for the fullback position in a new offense under Philbin and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman.

Not only would Hall cost more than twice the price of a rookie at the six-year veteran minimum of $700,000, but's also graded out as as one of the worst fullbacks in the NFL over the past four seasons, including the absolute worst in 2010 according to Pro Football Focus.

But while the Dolphins might decide against signing Hall, it's clear that the team does have plans for the fullback spot that was abandoned in Brian Daboll's offense in 2011. In 2011, the Packers' three fullbacks combined for 103 touches (84 rushes, 19 receptions) and starter John Kuhn ranked second on the team in carries and first in rushing touchdowns.

The Dolphins have already signed 245-pounder Jerome Messam out of the CFL and Volin also reports the team has talked to Bethune-Cookman linebacker Ryan Lewis (a likely undrafted free agent) about the prospect of moving to fullback. In 2009 in Green Bay, Philbin was part of a staff that got four touchdowns in a four-game span out of converted linebacker Spencer Havner.

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