Chargers positional review: Fullback
The fullback position has an opening this offseason with the departure of Derek Watt, who is now in Pittsburgh with his brother TJ. Watt was essential not only on the offensive side of the ball but also on special teams. Last season, he was one of the league leaders with 16 special teams tackles.
The Chargers have brought two undrafted rookie fullbacks, who have shown much promise, but head coach Anthony Lynn has laid out how to win the role.
“Big shoes to fill Derek Watt was a savvy veteran,” explained Lynn. “It’s going to be a learning curve for these young men for sure. They both have the body type and skill to step in that role and help us this year.”
The Louisiana Tech product is a natural fullback who can open up holes for whatever running back is in the backfield. Holly didn’t touch the ball much in college, and at times the Bolts like to hand it off to their big fullback on 3rd and 1. The team has returning center Mike Pouncey, added guard Trai Turner, and right tackle Bryan Bulaga so they will be able to get a solid push on the right side to get the first down.
A huge plus for Holly is he will be wearing the number 41. The last time a fullback wore 41 for the Chargers was Lorenzo Neal, one of the best fullbacks in NFL history. Another plus is Holly is very good on special teams, which will help him add to his resume.
“Former halfback that is big enough to play both,” said Lynn. “He is a twiner. This is a guy that can create versatility there.”
The former Seminole played fullback his first season at Florida State then was moved to tight end, so he brings versatility. Since he played tight end, that means he has a history of being able to block, which will help his transition back to fullback. He also had 15 receptions for 221 yards while adding two touchdowns last season. He could add yet another weapon to the offense.
“He is an H-back, fullback out of Florida State, and he looks really impressive,” said Lynn. If you are walking out of the door and picking teams…you pick Gabe. He looks pretty good.”
It is usually a good sign if the head coach of the team is raving about you. It will be an interesting battle for both fullbacks to see who comes away with the one roster spot.