4 fullback options for Chiefs to consider in 2023 NFL draft

The Kansas City Chiefs will be on a hunt for a new fullback after Mike Burton reunited with Sean Payton on the Denver Broncos.

Now, you might be thinking, “Why do the Chiefs even need a fullback?” The answer is that Andy Reid has always had a fullback on his roster as long as he’s been a head coach in the NFL and I don’t expect him to change his line of thinking now. Look no further than the split-back play called in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LVII to understand why Reid still carries a fullback on the roster.

Fullbacks in the NFL aren’t exactly the dying breed they’re made out to be, but the position is evolving. The players who can do the most are the ones who end up having the most success in the NFL. Whether that means wearing multiple hats on offense, playing special teams, or otherwise varies from player to player.

Here’s a look at four members of the upcoming 2023 NFL draft class who could end up as the next fullback for the Chiefs:

Iowa's Monte Pottebaum

© Bryon Houlgrave/The Des Moines Register

Pottebaum is probably the closest to an old-school fullback that there is in this draft class. The 6-foot-1 and 233-pound athlete converted from the linebacker position ahead of the 2019 college football season and has been an integral part of the Hawkeyes offense ever since. He’s appeared in 45 career games with 13 starts and he’s got plenty of snaps that look like this:

He’s also a great blocker out in space.

Pottebaum can pick up the tough yards with 20 carries for 82 yards and a score in his career. He’s not going to contribute a whole lot in the passing game as a catcher with just 10 career receptions for 85 yards.

The biggest selling point for Pottebaum is his willingness to play special teams. He’s been a multiphase special teamer for Iowa since 2019 with over 600 special teams snaps under his belt. He’s got Dave Toub written all over him.

NDSU's Hunter Luepke

© Erin Woodiel / Argus Leader

Luepke is arguably the top fullback prospect in this class and that’s mainly because he’s so much more than just a fullback. As his offensive coordinator at NDSU so brilliantly illustrates in this Twitter post, Luepke is a do-it-all offensive weapon. Listed at 6-foot-1 and 230 pounds, Luepke can block from the fullback spot, in-line, or on the wings. He can run some slick routes and catch the ball. He also can run the ball just as effectively as a running back would.

Given how the Chiefs’ offense has evolved to feature some unique skillsets over the year, Luepke feels like a perfect fit there. While special teams wasn’t exactly Luepke’s forte at NDSU, with only 70 or so snaps over the past two seasons, I imagine that could change at the NFL level.

Oklahoma's Brayden Willis

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Willis is probably closer to an H-Back than a true fullback, but he also shares a super diverse skillset. At the senior bowl, he proved his ability as a lead blocker, opening up some huge running lanes for Tulane’s Tyjae Spears.

He can align offset or in-line and work as a blocker as well.

He also has a knack for making some sweet catches, both contested and non-contested, posting 75 career receptions for nearly 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns over four seasons.

Willis also has the benefit of having played over 450 special teams snaps over the past three seasons, so you know that he’ll be on Dave Toub’s radar.

One area that is lacking for Willis is carrying the ball. He only has 12 attempts for 25 yards and no rushing scores during his career.

Cincinnati's Josh Whyle

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Whyle’s size (6-foot-6 and 248 pounds) and receiving production (88 career receptions for over 1,000 yards and 15 touchdowns) would have you assume that he’s a tight end at the next level. He certainly has potential as a fullback or H-Back with plays like these two (second tweet) littered across his game tape (101 career snaps in the backfield since 2019 per PFF).

While you can see Whyle catching out of the backfield in the play above, he shockingly has no carries at all during his college career. That’s a unique wrinkle that Kansas City would probably have to explore a bit if they were to look at him in that fullback role.

Whyle also is a multi-phase special teamer, with over 400 snaps on special teams since 2019. That’ll certainly get the attention of Dave Toub at the next level.

Story originally appeared on Chiefs Wire