What Is A Fullback In Football

A fullback in football is an offensive player which is primarily used to block opposing team’s players from reaching the ball carrier. Fullbacks also act as ball carriers on some offensive plays. This position can both catch the ball from a pass as well as receive it in a handoff.

In recent years fullbacks have seen a large decrease in usage due to the new pass-first nature of the NFL.

Lead Blocking

One of the biggest responsibilities of a full back is to provide lead blocking for the running back. On plays in which the fullback is given lead blocking responsibilities, he must run through the hole before the running back and block the first defender that gets in his way.

Running with a lead blocker isn’t as common in today’s NFL but still remains as one of the aspects of the game that fullbacks have a large impact on.

Pass Protection

fullback pass protection play
Fullback in pass protection

Fullbacks can also be useful in pass protection. Due to most fullbacks being avid blockers they often are task with helping in protecting the quarterback. In these situations, the fullbacks must be able to identify pass rushers that make it through the offensive line.

Ball Skills

Though not used many times throughout the game fullbacks will be given the responsibility of catching and running with the ball.

Typically fullbacks are not expected to carry the ball for a large number of yards. But due to their larger size they are almost always expected to pick up a few positive yards. This is why you may find fullbacks are more often used in short-yardage situations.

Fullback Attributes

Physical Strength

Physical strength is one thing that all fullbacks must possess. Since this position typically does not have the athletic ability of other ball carriers strength is a must. Fullbacks will be expected to always fall forwards when being tackled to pick up a few extra yards.

Elite Blocking

Whether it’s lead blocking on a run or play pass protection a fullback needs to have all aspects of blocking down pat.

In order to earn their playing time elite blocking is a necessary trait for fullbacks. Since this position isn’t going to get the ball in their hands often blocking is a fullbacks best way of staying on the field.


One trait all fullbacks must possess is toughness. Fullbacks play one of the most physical positions in the league. In order to play this position, you must possess a good deal of physical toughness.

There are few plays in which a fullback will not be involved in some sort of physical contact.


The build of a fullback is more muscular and shorter than most players on the field. Though height does vary amongst the position, full-backs always have a muscular build.

These players weigh fairly heavy but do not carry much fat on their bodies as you would see with offensive linemen such as guards.


fullback positioning
Fullback lining up in the offence

Positioning for a fullback can be all over the football field depending on your formation. Though in most cases you will find that fullbacks will line up in the backfield either beside or behind the quarterback.

Concluding Thoughts

We hope you have enjoyed this guide to understanding the fullback position in football. If you have any more questions regarding fullbacks please be sure to reach out and we will be happy to answer.

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