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Lorenzo Taliaferro Could Find His Footing at Fullback


Lorenzo Taliaferro was a battering ram as a running back during his rookie season in 2014. Now he'll be a battering ram for the running back.

Taliaferro is making the switch to fullback this offseason in hopes of filling the void left by the departure of Pro Bowl fullback Kyle Juszczyk in free agency.

It's a move that makes sense for multiple reasons. Most importantly for Taliaferro, it's a fresh start after three frustrating seasons to kick off his career.

It would have been tough for Taliaferro to make the team at running back this season considering the team already has last year's leader, Terrance West, up-and-coming talent Kenneth Dixon and veteran playmaker Danny Woodhead.

The Ravens do, however, have an opening at fullback.

"The fact that they moved me to fullback instead of just moving on with me is just a blessing," Taliaferro told Glenn Clark Radio Monday after minicamp ended.

"I just took it and ran with it. It was easy for them to just toss me since I've been hurt, but they found a way to get me to make the team and contribute to helping them win. So I'm embracing it, I'm happy, I'm excited."

Taliaferro's three NFL seasons have all ended with him on injured reserve, leaving him with just 19 games under his belt.

A foot injury ended a promising rookie season, in which he averaged 4.3 yards per carry and scored four touchdowns, after 13 games. A foot injury again knocked him out after three games in 2015, and a hamstring injury sent him to the sideline after three games in 2016.

"Talent really isn't my question these days," Taliaferro said. "Three years I've been hurt."

While he was on the shelf last season, Running Backs Coach Thomas Hammock came to Taliaferro and told him that he thought he would make a good fullback. Knowing Juszczyk was in his final year, Taliaferro thought it over.

Shortly after the season ended, Hammock told Taliaferro the move was going to happen, and told him to start studying the playbook to be ready for fullback by Organized Team Activities.

The position is not totally new for Taliaferro. He played fullback and running back at Lackawanna College and still led the team in touchdowns. After transferring to Coastal Carolina, he proved himself as a running back and didn't look back.

Juszczyk was a major piece of the Ravens' passing attack as he caught 78 passes for 587 yards and four touchdowns over the past two seasons. Taliaferro might not have that much of an impact considering Woodhead's arrival, but he could be a dual threat if needed.

"I think I'm going to be a bruiser and that hybrid kind of guy that can get it done," Taliaferro said.

"It comes down to will. If you're willing to block and get in there and get dirty, you're going to have some battles you're going to lose, but ultimately you go in there and make room for that running back if you have that mindset."

Taliaferro said he has added some bulk and is up to 235 pounds, but he didn't need to put that much on considering he was already a bigger tailback.

When he returns for training camp, Taliaferro will be in competition with undrafted rookie Ricky Ortiz for the fullback job and a spot on the 53-man roster. Taliaferro is looking to make a name for himself, and is happy to do it wherever he can on the field.

"It doesn't matter what position you're at," he said. "You get to play the game you love while also getting to feed your family, support your family in a great way. I mean, it doesn't get any better than that."

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