Roster Review: Fullback

Fullback is perhaps one of the most unglamorous and under appreciated positions in all of sports. You basically get paid to take a beating each and every week with no glory or accolades. The Roster Review series continues today with a look at the current fullbacks on the Eskimos roster.

What the coaches might be looking for.

Fullback on CFL teams is traditionally a position always filled by Canadian talent and the Eskimos certainly don’t stray from the trend. Fullbacks are often called upon to fill multiple roles, from lead blocking, filling in at Tight End, and playing on all special teams. The Eskimos currently have three fullbacks signed to their roster and more than likely might add one or two more players at the position going into training camp if they can find a talented Canadian prospect or two. There shouldn’t be much turnover at the position as long as the current squad continues to produce as they so often do…under the radar.

Current Roster.

Mathieu Bertrand. The perennial CFLPA all-star will be back for the 2010 wearing his familiar #30 jersey. The special teams standout had a respectable season in 2009 despite missing three games due to injury. Bertrand is particularly useful on the offensive side of the ball as a receiving back as he gained 207 yards on 22 receptions, good for a 9.4 yards per completion average. He will once again be looked at as a leader on the Eskimos special teams, contributing where he can on offence.

Chris Ciezki. Ciezki earns his pay cheque on special teams, and the Green & Gold certainly get their monies worth out of what most would consider to be an under-sized fullback. With a non-stop motor, Ciezki has led the Eskimos special teams unit in tackles each of his two years since breaking into the league in 2008. Limited in his offensive chances due to the presence of the more talented Bertrand, Ciezki still provides the Eskimos with a reliable team player whose value is only ever truly appreciate once they move on.

Graeme Bell. Bell was signed as a free agent from Winnipeg prior to the 2009 to provide the Eskimos with a bit of depth at what was already a solid position. Bell started in three games in place of an injured Bertrand with unspectacular stats (1 carry, 6 yards, 3 receptions, 13 yards). Like the other fullbacks, Bell played a role on special teams where he netted 7 special teams tackles. Again, nothing spectacular, but Bell fills a need on the team both in having quality reliable depth and for his role on special teams. 

Changes???

The only roster move that I could foresee happening would be if a more talented prospect a fullback came to camp and outperformed Bell. It’s a longshot, but he is the only one of the three that the Eskimos could deem easily replaceable. Bertrand and Ciezki are not going anywhere for the time being because successful franchises simply do not cut all-stars in the prime of their career or leader in any positive statistical category. Then again, stranger things have happened, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

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