Patrick Ricard likes to hit people really hard. It doesn't matter to him whether he does it on defense or offense.
The Ravens signed Ricard as an undrafted rookie to play on the defensive line. He immediately stood out as a potential gem, and it wasn't long until the Ravens got creative with how to use him.
"They pretty much said, 'Hey, we're going to try you at fullback,'" Ricard said. "They just tell me what to do and I go out there and do it."
Ricard played fullback in high school before moving over to the defensive side in college at Maine, so it feels somewhat natural. The Ravens gave him a couple reps at fullback in Organized Team Activities, then more in training camp.
In Thursday night's 31-7 preseason win over the Miami Dolphins, Ricard got just about as many snaps (five or six, he said) at fullback as he did at defensive tackle.
"They let me loose," Ricard said. "It just feels great going out there and slamming people."
So, is Ricard more defensive tackle or fullback at this point?
"I guess right now I'm just a football player," he said. "Wherever they need me, I'm trying to fill in and make the best of the opportunity I have."
Ricard laid a key block on a 16-yard Javorius Allen run, teaming up with left tackle James Hurst to create a huge hole on the left side.
Ricard came across the formation and clobbered fourth-year Dolphins linebacker Trevor Reilly. Ricard hit him so hard, and finished the block with so much physicality, that Reilly's helmet came off.
The Ravens currently have two full-time fullbacks on the roster, but neither are proven options. Lorenzo Taliaferro has converted from running back and there's also undrafted rookie Ricky Ortiz. Ricard may be another option.
The Ravens have a lot of depth at defensive tackle. If Ricard could serve as the team's primary fullback – even if it's a diminished role from what Kyle Juszczyk played last year – it would help him find a way onto the 53-man roster.
Still, Ricard's future lies primarily on the defensive line. The 6-foot-3, 300-pound mauler plays with a bulldog mentality and has flashed numerous times with his power and quickness during practice. He also got an interception in one practice when he leapt into a passing lane.
"I think more the focus is on defense," Ricard said. "When they need me [at fullback], just go and practice, get a couple reps in practice, just make sure they can trust me to do my job right when my name's called."