The Detroit Lions have apparently targeted their next fullback.
Jed Collins, who played the past three seasons in New Orleans with new Detroit offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, is flying to Detroit tonight and meeting with the Lions on Wednesday, according to a league source.
Collins had been mostly a blocker in the New Orleans offense and the Lions have apparently been adamant about bringing a fullback in during free agency. The team had Henry Hynoski, who eventually re-signed with the New York Giants, in for a visit last week.
Collins, who went undrafted out of Washington State, has played in 47 games with 19 carries for 49 yards and seven touchdowns. He also has 39 receptions for 174 yards in his career.
“I’ve kind of always liked to have a fullback around,” Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said at the NFL combine last month. “The problem has been if the guy is just going to be an I-back, and that’s all he’s going to do – play 10 snaps – then how do you keep him active?
“So you go to a fullback who can do multiple things, whether it’s being a fullback/halfback, which we wanted to do last year with Montell Owens before he got injured. Special-teams player. Or it’s a fullback who can play tight end in some situations or guys who are a bona fide, hardcore, like Montell, special-teams guy, who is a true fullback.”
The Lions did not have a fullback on their roster for most of the season, although Owens could fill that role if necessary. The team had Shaun Chapas on the practice squad at the beginning of last season but eventually released him.
“Montell is kind of a tweener between a fullback and a halfback,” Mayhew said at the combine. “He’s only 220, 225 pounds. But you want that physical fullback who is also a beast on special teams, but he has to bring something else to the table, too.
“I’ve always liked to have a fullback, though, and we’re looking to find a guy that can fit into one of those roles.”