For the first time since the departure of Heath Evans via free agency in 2009, the Patriots appear to be in prime position to keep a "true" fullback on the roster, with three players currently under contract at the position: Tony Fiammetta, Spencer Larsen, and Eric Kettani.
That being said, Travis Lazarczyk of the Morning Sentinel recently caught up with former Patriots fullbacks Patrick Pass and Harold Shaw. The two former Patriots are coaching in the annual Central Maine Youth Football Clinic in Waterville, and Pass offered up some of their thoughts on the changing fullback position:
"It's more of a dinosaur position now. You go back in the day, we were watching guys like Tom Rathman (who played fullback for the 49ers) and (former Charger) Lorenzo Neal. Those were bruisers then. Now you've got these hybrid tight end-fullbacks. Guys that are a lot bigger than a normal fullback, but can still run and catch the ball out of the backfield."
Pass adds that he was able to be a longtime member of the Patriots' roster because he was able to do so many things for the Patriots:
"I didn't really have a defined position. I did it all, receiver, running back, fullback, whatever I needed to do on the field, that's what I was going for."
Of the three fullbacks on the Patriots roster, I think Spencer Larsen provides the most versatility - similar to what Pass was able to do during his seven years with the team. In addition to being a two way player at linebacker and fullback, Larsen can also play h-back. If the Patriots really went to go old-school at the position, the Patriots could always opt to keep Tony Fiammetta, who is more of a traditional, hard-nosed blocking fullback. Kettani meanwhile, offers the most versatility as a runner who could be comfortable with a fair share of touches.