While confirmation is pending an MRI this morning, the indications are that Pro Bowl fullback Leonard Weaver is likely out for the season with a torn ACL after a gruesome play in Sunday's season opener that saw Weaver's leg severely hyperextended. Of course this is bad news for the team and for Weaver, one of the most highly respected players in the locker room, but there is little time to dwell in the NFL.
If Weaver is indeed done for the year, the Eagles will obviously have to replace him at fullback. What are the options?
Eldra Buckley is the nominal backup fullback, and he stepped into the role after Weaver went down against the Packers - he fumbled away his first reception while fighting for extra yardage. But Buckley, 5-9, 207, is too slight to handle exclusive fullback duties and is better suited in his role as a quality special teamer. Second-team tight end Clay Harbor played some H-back in college at Missouri State, but he's also unlikely to get moved full-time to fullback.
Tight end Garrett Mills, 6-1, 235, currently on the practice squad, is probably the most viable internal option, as he's played a little bit in the backfield with the New England Patriots and Minnesota Vikings. He wouldn't be the kind of running option that's ideal at fullback, but he could likely handle the blocking responsibilities and he's a threat in the passing game.
- Free Agency
This is the most likely scenario, as there are plenty of experienced fullbacks currently on the open market. Jason Davis, who was featured in this summer's version of "Hard Knocks" as a member of the New York Jets, has experience with the Eagles, as he signed with the team as a rookie free agent in 2006. He spent that rookie season on injured reserve and then was a member of the practice squad in 2007. In fact, Davis hasalready tweeted that he's on his way to Philadelphia to workout for the team.
Charles Scott, of course, spent training camp with the Eagles and was the team's sixth-round pick in last April's draft. Scott, 6-0, 238, was moved to fullback after starting as a running back and was later dealt to the Arizona Cardinals for cornerback Jorrick Calvin. He's currently a member of the Giants practice squad and is free to sign with any active roster.
Other notable free agent or practice squad fullbacks include Dan Klecko, 5-11, 275, recently cut by the Atlanta Falcons; Owen Schmitt, 6-2, 245, recently cut by the Seattle Seahawks; Jason McKie, 5-11, 247, a veteran recently cut by the New Orleans Saints who spent time with the Eagles on the practice squad in 2002; Dwayne Wright, 5-11, 234, who was released by the Eagles during training camp; Carey Davis, 5-10, 225, a longtime veteran and Super Bowl champion with the Pittsburgh Steelers who was released by the Washington Redskins during cutdown day; Manase Tonga, 5-11, 245, a rookie currently on the Oakland Raiders practice squad.
A few teams in the league, including the Green Bay Packers and Jacksonville Jaguars, have more than one fullback on their active roster and could be willing to part with one. However, it's probably unlikely that the Eagles would be willing to give up much for a position that isn't the most important on the offense, especially with so many other options.
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 10:30 a.m., September 13