Positional Analysis Fullback- 01/27/2000
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The 49ers will be faced with quite a challenge this off-season. Fred Beasley, the teams featured full back, renowned for being one of the best at his position is a restricted free agent, and wont be easy to resign. Beasley has excelled since taking over the starting role from Tommy Vardell in 1997, and literally shocked the NFL when he made San Francisco fans forget about Marc Edwards.

In what was a skeptical move at the time, Bill Walsh traded Marc Edwards to the Browns. Fans everywhere questioned the move, but as Beasley grew into the starting fullback position, they began to understand just how spectacular Beasley is. Not only is Beasley a tenacious blocker, but he is also a good runner up the middle, with a nose for the end zone in goal line situations, and can catch you by surprise down field. Beasley is a player the 49ers need to find a way to re-sign and get him even more involved in the offense in the coming season.

Terry Jackson is the team's backup fullback and has done an admiral job in filling in for Beasley when given the opportunity. Jackson is not in question for next season, as he is a standout special teams player, and a more than capable backup.

Last season the team used Paul Smith in one game as a fullback. Smith had a huge game, and literally knocked defenders off their feet. Smith's role in the offense should increase be it at fullback, halfback or special teams. Meanwhile Jonas Lewis continues to be a strong backup halfback and a great special teams contributor. The play of these two will likely result in the release of Travis Jervey, a running back that did not see action away from special teams this season.

The 49ers are in good shape at fullback. If they can figure out what to do with their halfback situation, the team's offensive backfield could be in very good shape. The key will be re-signing Fred Beasley who should be looking for a considerable pay increase. Paul Smith's role in the offense should also be increased.

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