Reports came out late Thursday night that the Ravens were the front runners to get Vonta Leach. This would be a huge win for the Ravens. If this happens, they are basically able to bring someone and pay them a lot less than they were before. Vonta Leach was the definition of a salary cap casualty. He is coming off his 3rd straight first team All-Pro season. The Ravens didn't necessarily want to get rid of him, but fullback is not a position at the top of anyone's off season priority list.
With that being said, Leach brings a toughness that the Ravens offense lacks without him, while making them a more dynamic unit. Many think of him as the leader of the running game, clearing the way for Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce. Leach also received some meaningful touches last year. Defenses look at Leach as a player who is only going to block, but Joe Flacco was able to get him involved in the passing game. If Leach can continue to improve this aspect of his game, he would be an outstanding addition to this team. In my opinion, Leach is someone you just want on the field. He is a player that is going to make good football plays and just wants to help the team win. Let’s take a look at Vonta Leach’s usage numbers from last season.
|Total Plays*||Passing Plays||Rushing Plays||Avg Yards, All||Avg Yards, Pass||Avg Yards, Rush||First Downs||Touchdowns||Fumbles Lost||Interceptions|
*All plays were removed involving Tyrod Taylor as QB to include only "competitive plays"
The one statistic that stuck out to me was his effect on the passing game. He is certainly not creating this positive effect with his hands, but the fact that he is on the field has increased the yards per passing play to over 7. He also increases rushing yards per play by .03 yards, which seems small, but the sample size with him on the field (261 plays) is much larger than without (126 plays).
All in all, I would love to have Vonta Leach back on the team. He is a truly versatile player who can do anything you would want from a fullback. He excels at run blocking, while also helping Flacco throw from the pocket. His contract going into this season would have hampered the team greatly. His absence has allowed for other position upgrades and the front office to get their financial ducks in a row. Leach is a player that doesn't need to have the ball in his hand to affect the team in a positive way. He possesses the necessary intangibles that every Super Bowl team needs.