It’s time to give the fullbacks a little bit of love. Michigan running back Ben Mason might not have production worthy of the NFL Draft. And he might not have a playmaking role at the NFL level. Nevertheless, some NFL teams always find a way to keep fullbacks involved, and Mason could benefit from that nod to the past with his relentless, hard-nosed style.
Ben Mason NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Running Back
- School: Michigan
- Current Year: Senior
- Height: 6’2 3/4″
- Weight: 246 pounds
- Wingspan: 79″
- Arm: 32″
- Hand: 9 3/8″
Tony Pauline’s Ben Mason Scouting Report
Positives: Fierce, athletic lead blocker with next-level athleticism. Tough, always looks for someone to hit, and squares into opponents. Strong, seals open running lanes, and works to finish blocks. Displays outstanding vision and terrific short-area quickness and consistently knocks defenders from their angles of attack.
Terrific pass catcher who extends his hands to make the reception away from his frame then turns upfield and works to pick up positive yardage. Possesses good short-area quickness and initial burst as a ball handler or blocker.
Negatives: Only effective carrying the ball downhill and gets in trouble when he tries to run east and west. Shows stiffness in his game.
Analysis: Mason was a productive three-year fullback at Michigan who also saw time on the defensive line. He’s one of the better fullbacks in the draft and will be an asset at the next level as a lead blocker and occasional pass catcher out of the backfield.
Ben Mason Player Profile
Interestingly enough, Ben Mason wasn’t recruited as a running back. He was recruited as a linebacker — a fairly good one. Rated as a four-star prospect in the 2017 recruiting class, Mason had offers from teams like Boston College, Connecticut, Syracuse, and California.
Mason could have chosen one of those offers, and he might’ve remained at linebacker. But instead, he signed with the Michigan Wolverines, eager to play in the Big Ten conference. From there, Mason’s football career took the next step. But it wasn’t one the Wolverines’ signee would have expected.
Ben Mason’s career as a Michigan running back
Ben Mason saw playing time in his first year, but he didn’t crack the depth chart at linebacker. Instead, Michigan used the densely-built Mason as a fullback and special teams player. Mason only logged three carries in a short-yardage role but managed to convert twice on the goal line.
In his true sophomore season, the Wolverines chose to keep Mason at fullback, as his size and toughness translated well. The Michigan running back had his most productive season in his newfound role in 2018, putting up 80 yards and seven touchdowns on 33 carries, good for 2.4 yards per attempt.
Mason’s final two seasons with the Michigan Wolverines
In his final two campaigns, Mason maintained his duty as the Wolverines’ dominant extra blocker. Over that span, he only logged one carry and two catches, but Mason served a less tangible purpose with his ability to open lanes and keep his teammates clean.
Serving a less glamorous purpose, Mason never earned All-Big Ten honors for his play. However, he was a three-time All-Big Ten academic selection, and he also earned captain status in his final season. In late December, Mason compounded his forward momentum by accepting an invite to the Reese’s Senior Bowl, starting his path toward the NFL Draft.
Analyzing Ben Mason’s NFL Draft profile
There’s only so much we can say here. Ben Mason is a fullback, and he hasn’t proven himself to have enough creation ability outside of that role to earn increased volume. Having said that, Mason is excellent within his sphere, and it’s worth getting into with more depth.
Mason is 6-foot-3, 246 pounds, and plays like a heat-seeking missile as a run blocker. The Michigan running back has excellent straight-line explosiveness, which he uses to close gaps between himself and defenders. At the contact point, he’s extremely physical, and he relishes dominating his assignment.
Additionally, Mason’s all-out mentality extends past his work as a blocker. Mason is also a willing special teams player, and he has the experience as a linebacker to be a solid tackler. Mason may not be a key contributor from a playmaking standpoint.
Nevertheless, his near-elite blocking ability gives him a lot of appeal in rushing-heavy offenses, and his special teams’ utility increases his attractiveness for NFL teams.
Ben Mason’s best fits in the 2021 NFL Draft
Ben Mason needs to show more ability as a playmaker before he can be a legitimate running back. Having said that, his ability as an extra blocker out of the backfield makes him a superb addition for teams that still utilize fullbacks. He also has short-yardage ability, and his special teams’ experience serves as an added bonus.
Unfortunately for Mason, as good as he is at his role, fullbacks aren’t used by a ton of NFL teams anymore. And most teams that use fullbacks have players in place. With that being said, Mason’s prowess might convince a team to add him to the roster for a late-round pick. Additionally, turnover at the fullback spot in opportunistic areas might bode well for the Michigan running back.
Which teams can effectively utilize Ben Mason?
As of now, Mason is a late Day 3 pick, if he’s picked at all. Teams only have five spots to use on skill players in standard alignments. In truth, it’s simply not as efficient anymore to use a fullback.
Having said this, some teams still employ those kinds of players with success. The Buffalo Bills and Green Bay Packers might be good fits for Mason late. So might the Saints and the Broncos, who’ve utilized full backs in recent years.
There may be limited daylight for Mason early, as his role doesn’t quite fit the modern NFL. With this in mind, Mason is good enough to pace that position. After dominating as a blocker at the Senior Bowl, the Michigan running back reminded teams how impactful he can be. He’ll have to go to the right team, but Mason has the potential to stick around.
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