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Saints 2018 in Review: Zach Line

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The unsung hero in the run game.

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

In a league that passes the ball more and more each season, the fullback position is a dying breed. However, a handful of coaches still see the usefulness of the position, and Sean Payton is one of them.

Zach Line joined the New Orleans Saints in 2017 to replace John Kuhn when he was placed on injured reserve, after playing his first four seasons in Minnesota.

2018 numbers:

  • Approximate Value: 1
  • Pro Football Focus rank: 3 out of 5
  • Overall Grade: 62.3
  • Run Blocking Grade: 72.9
  • Pass Blocking Grade: 54
  • Rushing Grade: 80.6
  • Receiving Grade: 33.5
  • Total Offensive Snaps: 247

While fullbacks rarely—if ever—put up gaudy numbers, one looks to their blocking abilities to measure the effectiveness of the position. Line’s blocking helped to open up holes for Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara to run through, and he did it better than anyone at his position. Per PFF grading, Line posted a 72.9 run-blocking grade, which was the highest of all qualifying fullbacks.

Line may not put up numbers like Kyle Juszczyk does in San Francisco, but he has a valuable role in this offense and contributed solidly throughout the season.

He made the most of his 5 receptions, catching two touchdowns on goal-line situations and rushing for 41 yards on 9 attempts.

Fullbacks may no longer be in demand like they once were, but when you have a coach who can utilize the position, and a player who fits the skill set, it can add another dimension to the offense.