2014 Colts Training Camp Battles: Fullback

Michael Hickey

Training camp is rapidly approaching, and as we prepare we'll be taking a look at some of the most significant battles that will take place in camp this year for the Colts - some for starting spots, others for backup spots. Today we look at the fullbacks.

Now, I know what you might be thinking: "You can't have an article just about the battle at the fullback position!"

My response is that of course you can if Pep Hamilton is your offensive coordinator.  It might just turn out to be the most important position battle in all of training camp.

In all seriousness, while the fullback position isn't one that gets a lot of attention, it's worth noting here due to the fact that Pep Hamilton utilizes the fullback quite a bit.  Because of that, it seems important to look at who might end up making the roster from the position.  It's highly unlikely that the Colts will keep two at the fullback position, although much crazier things have happened.  It's most likely that they'll just keep one fullback, however, and they have three players on the roster at the position.  The most obvious and notable one is Stanley Havili, who was on the roster last year, but at the same time Mario Harvey is a familiar name and he switched from linebacker to fullback this year.  Lastly, Cameron White is also on the roster.  Here's what I wrote about the position in my positional preview series on the running backs and fullbacks:

Lastly, speaking of fullbacks, we all know how important they are to Pep Hamilton's offense, so we need to address the position.  The Colts have three guys on their current roster at the position.  Stanley Havili was the team's fullback last year and did a good job, though he's a different type of fullback.  He's one of the best receiving fullbacks in the league, but he's not great at blocking.  As long as the Colts realize that and play to his strengths, Havili is a good player and a great guy to have around.  The other two guys the Colts have are Cameron White (out of Hillsdale College in Michigan) and Mario Harvey.   Yes, the same Mario Harvey that played linebacker last year.  White honestly seems like an offseason and camp body, though the Colts are always looking to improve at the position.  I don't see the Colts keeping both White and Havili, however, because White is best as a receiving back and in fact caught 94 passes for 1,145 yards and 12 touchdowns in his collegiate career.  If White is going to make the roster, it will be in place of Havili, not in addition to him.  One guy who might make the roster in addition to another fullback, however, is Mario Harvey.  We haven't seen Harvey as a fullback yet so it's hard to say, but it sounds like he has been impressive in offseason work so far and I wouldn't put it past him to make the team as a fullback and really help the team there.  I could see the Colts keeping both Havili/White and Harvey to have two fullbacks.

Ultimately, we need to keep two things in mind about the Colts fullback position: one, the Colts definitely do utilize more of a receiving fullback than a traditional fullback, which makes Havili a good option for the team, and I think he'll make the team as the starting fullback - which means Cameron White probably won't.  Secondly, Dwayne Allen is coming back and is a tremendous blocking tight end who lined up at fullback some in his rookie 2012 season and who likely will again in 2014.  Depending on how often the Colts plan to use Allen in that type of role or something similar might depend on whether they keep more than one fullback or not.  I think Allen will see enough time there that the second fullback is most definitely not needed, and therefore I think Harvey will need to play his way onto the roster.  I don't think he'll make it right out of camp (though, granted, we do need to see him play first) but I think he'll be the first one the Colts call when they need help at the position.

I still think that it will end up being Stanley Havili making the roster, but the more I think about it the less I'm certain.  The reason I haven't changed my "official" prediction yet is because I haven't seen Mario Harvey really on the field yet and therefore don't know if this is just one of those instances where I'm over thinking it or whether Harvey actually has a very good shot at making the roster, but all I know is that I don't expect it to be an easy road for Havili to make the roster again this year, despite the fact that I thought he did well in what the Colts asked him to do last season.  I think that Harvey has a real chance to make the roster this year over Havili, though, and I think it could be an underrated yet at the same time important camp battle.  I don't want to rule out Cameron White from this either, as he is another guy I haven't really seen play yet so I can't say definitively, but he seems to be a distinct third behind the other two.

I'm split on this position - maybe you can help me decide whether I'm just over thinking this one or whether it will actually be a camp battle?

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