2011 NFL Draft: Owen Marecic Most Versatile Prospect?

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Thirty to forty years ago, seeing two-way football standouts in the college and even NFL ranks wasn't that notable and was actually somewhat commonplace. Nowadays, if a cornerback plays receiver or vice versa at times, we consider that versatile and rare.

However, this year, Stanford's Owen Marecic has not only played every game this year at both inside linebacker and fullback and rarely coming off the field, he's an NFL prospect at both positions. And while quarterback, defensive end, and safety elite athletes considered versatile in the NFL's eyes, Marecic is a prospect we haven't seen in some time.

Linebackers and running backs generally are around the same size, with the average NFL Draft prospect being around 6'1, 230. Marecic is right around there at 6'1, 244.

As a fullback prospect, Marecic is a smooth athlete for the position as a true fullback who engages linebackers well on power plays, can kick defensive ends on sweeps, and can pick up pass rushers on the interior with a good base. He is a tough runner who doesn't have the speed to be a productive rusher, but he has shown some pass catching ability out of the backfield at times. He's somewhat of an Owen Schmitt type fullback with less quickness and not as tested as a pass catcher.

As a linebacker prospect, Marecic has been a leader of this defense for much of the year. He finished the year with a lackluster number of tackles, but he had two sacks, a forced fumble, and two interceptions, one of them for a touchdown. Those stats yet again show his versatility as a linebacker, as he reads the play well and can make a play on the ball. He doesn't have great range and can struggles to use his hands to shed blockers at times, but he can be a rotational inside linebacker and a nickel linebacker in the NFL as well if given time.

Overall as a prospect, I'd be very surprised if he wasn't drafted just based on his versatility and character. As a fullback in the NFL now, he may not be a good enough pass catcher or rusher to be a full time starter, especially since more and more teams don't use a full time fullback. As a linebacker, he doesn't have the range or quickness to be a consistent starter either. Still, with his versatility, toughness, work ethic, and willingness to play anywhere, he'll stick in the NFL and will be a fan favorite wherever he ends up.