Oakland's Marcel Reece Is A Man In Full
By Bess Shapiro
Dennis Allen has pegged fourth-year fullback Marcel Reece as a leader this upcoming season. Earlier this month, Allen was quoted as saying “a guy like a Marcel Reece is a guy that comes to mind.” With the Oakland Raiders in rebuilding mode with an untested class of rookies, the team needs all the veteran leaders it can get. Marcel Reece undoubtedly fits that description.
After four years as a starter, Reece is a solid veteran with plenty of experience. He’s not flashy like Darren McFadden but he is arguably one of the most versatile fullbacks in the league. The Raiders have struggled with draft picks in the past, and it may take a Marcel Reece to bring out the talent in their rookies and repair a struggling offense. Reece, 28, wasn’t a Raider draft pick. He was signed as a free agent and waived initially before being re-signed by Oakland in 2008. He played his first game for the Raiders in 2009.
Bleacher Report’s Christopher Hansen says that Reece is a triple threat: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1494959-marcel-reece-earns-trip-to-the-pro-bowl-by-redefining-the-fullback-position. He can block, he can catch and he can run. “He continues to prove the fullback position is not dead, it’s just changing form,” Hansen says.
In an indication of how far the Raiders have fallen, Oakland had no selections to the Pro Bowl in 2013, but Reece made the team as an alternate and ended up going to Hawaii in place of the Baltimore Ravens’ Vonta Leach.
With 271 rushing yards, 496 receiving yards and a touchdown, Reece had his best year in 2012. What’s even more impressive is the majority of those receiving yards (351) came after the catch, according to ESPN: http://espn.go.com/nfl/statistics/player/_/stat/receiving/sort/receivingYardsAfterCatch. He also led all fullbacks with 52 catches.
Reece’s abilities and his leadership skills really emerged when McFadden and fellow running back Mike Goodson went down with injuries. Despite not rushing for a TD, Reese averaged 4.6 yards per carry.
After proving what he’s capable of last season, Reece has the opportunity to thrive again. McFadden is the starting running back, but his injury history is not good. Reece will need to be ready to step in again, especially in short yardage, third-down situations — not McFadden’s strength. The addition of veteran running back Rashad Jennings will help take some of the pressure off, but Jennings struggled last year as a starter with Jacksonville. Reece’s blocking ability can spring Jennings down the field.
Reece’s veteran guidance and familiarity with the Raider offensive schemes will be invaluable to Latavius Murray should the rookie running back get some snaps. Reece could be an unrestricted free agent in 2014. The Raiders would do well to keep him.