Blount may be a one-dimensional player, but he is very good at what he does. The 6-0, 250-pound power back paced the league last season with 18 rushing touchdowns (equalling his total from the previous three seasons combined) thanks to a heavy volume in the red zone, leading the league in carries inside the 20 and inside the five. He also got far more total touches than expected, with his 299 carries ranking second in the league to Ezekiel Elliott, which resulted in a career high in rushing yards despite a sub-4.0 YPC. Blount hasn't seen more than 12 targets in a season since 2011, but he doesn't need them to provide fantasy value. Now 30 years old and coming up fast on 1,200 career carries, he'll have a hard time approaching last year's numbers after signing with the Eagles.
There's nothing fancy about Blount's game — it's just straight ahead power, here I come, try to stop it. The Patriots have been good to Blount's bottom line, affording him 24 touchdowns in 38 career games (playoffs included). In Blount's other NFL stops, he has just 15 touchdowns in 51 games. (He's also fumbled far less in New England than he did in Tampa Bay, but we're not touching that one. Go ask Roger Goodell what he thinks.) To be fair, there are things Blount cannot do. He has just 12 catches in his New England career, and he was disappointing — perhaps miscast — as a temporary feature back after Dion Lewis was injured last year. But the Pats re-signed Blount to a one-year contract in April, and they didn't go after any running backs in the draft. That tells you how the team feels about him. Mash it all together and Blount makes for a reasonable depth play, though a low-upside one. Even if injuries rained down on other players, it's doubtful the Patriots would want to make him a significant part of the offense. But they know what to do around the goal line.
Following a solid season for New England in 2013, Blount joined the Steelers last year as Le'Veon Bell's backup. He lasted only 11 weeks, though, after walking out on the team in the aftermath of a game in which he failed to receive a single touch. The Patriots welcomed Blount back, and while he didn't make much of an impact in the regular season, another huge performance against the Colts in the playoffs ensured he'd be returning to Foxboro this season. A 6-0, 250-pound load out of the backfield, Blount isn't going to outrun many people, but his tremendous power and surprising balance and agility make him extremely difficult to tackle once he gets a head of steam. He doesn't offer much as a receiver, but as a back who can chew up yardage and wear down the defense, Blount has his uses. The Patriots parted ways with Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen, reducing Blount's competition for touches, but he is suspended the first game of the season due to a substance-abuse policy violation.
A tractor trailer of a back at 6-foot, 250, Blount – at his best – has deceptively good speed and is extraordinarily difficult to bring down, as evidenced by his top-five finish in yards after contact last year. Used inconsistently for much of the regular season, he exploded in Weeks 16 and 17, rushing a combined 40 times for 265 yards and four touchdowns, then proceeded to shock the world with a 166-yard, four-touchdown performance against the Colts in the playoffs.
That work was good enough to earn Blount a two-year deal with the Steelers, where he'll serve as the backup to young workhorse (and very similarly sized) Le'Veon Bell. It's an odd position for Blount, as Bell is perfectly capable of handling goal-line carries, while rookie Dri Archer is a far better fit for passing-down work than Blount. He's not only a stone-handed receiver, but also has averaged approximately one fumble per 48 carries in his career – a dangerous rate.
More than likely, Blount is nothing more than an insurance policy for Bell, meaning he won't even see the kind of 150-carry workload he enjoyed last year unless the injury bug strikes.
At 6-0, 247, Blount is a heavy load, who has uncanny speed for his size. That said, he's struggled the last two seasons and lost his job in Tampa Bay to Doug Martin. A trade to the Patriots in April gives Blount a fresh start on a strong offensive team, but it's a heavily crowded backfield in New England with Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Leon Washington and fellow bruiser Brandon Bolden also in the mix. Ideally, Blount could carve out a short-yardage and goal-line role with the Pats, but he'll need to look good this preseason in order to make the team's final roster.
Blount was one of fantasy football’s biggest busts last season, and injuries couldn’t be blamed. He’s still a beast with the ball in his hands and possesses one of the best hurdles in the NFL with a nice combination of speed and power. Few backs in the league are tougher to bring down in the open field. However, Blount is poor in pass protection and lacks discipline, committing too many penalties, and he also fumbled five times on a modest 184 carries. Despite being 6-0, 247, this lack of ball security likely led to him receiving just two goal-line carries (he converted both). There’s an entirely new coaching staff in Tampa Bay, and it traded up to select Doug Martin, whom it views as a “complete back,” in the first round. The rookie is expected to start immediately. There were 32 backs who were given more snaps than Blount last season, and that was before Martin was added to the roster.
Blount went from undrafted rookie to one of the better running backs in the NFL last season, and few saw it coming. He would have been drafted, and maybe even within the first few rounds, had he not been suspended during his senior season at Oregon for punching an opposing player following a season-opening loss, so it wasn’t a question of talent. Blount led the NFL in broken tackles as a runner with 50, which is a remarkable feat considering his 201 carries ranked just 22nd. His 3.7 YPC after contact also was the best in football. Blount doesn’t come without fleas, however, as he’s shown nothing as a receiver and despite his big build (6-0, 247), his coaches lost trust in him in short-yardage situations, and the stats backed them up (Blount was just 2-for-9 at the goal line). Blount is unlikely to start racking up catches, so securing the role at the goal line will be crucial to his fantasy value. There’s no reason he can’t succeed there given his physical attributes as he already possesses the best hurdle in the NFL, and while some question his speed, his three carries for 40-plus yards and 10 carries for 20-plus yards last season both equaled Jamaal Charles’ output. QB Josh Freeman and WR Mike Williams look like stars in the making, so this Bucs’ offense could soon be dangerous. With his ability to break tackles, Blount’s numbers could be scary good if Tampa Bay’s poor offensive line improves.
Blount is one of many backup running backs who could be fighting for the few carries Chris Johnson will not see, but may only see time on special teams in 2010.