Pass Protection: Brandon Fusco has excellent size for the center positions. With that size, he excels against beefy defensive tackles who like to bull rush. He has the ability to sit in his stance and anchor. Does a nice job at resetting his feet to maintain his leverage through the duration of the play. Against quick twitch defensive tackles, he can struggle at times. Doesn’t move well side-to-side and has a difficult time with leverage against them. Quick rushers can get under his pads and drive him back into the quarterback. Does a good job of combination blocking and passing defenders off.
Run Blocking: Fusco’s long arms come into player here. He does an excellent job at extending them and directing defenders where he wants them to go. He also gets off the ball extremely quick, engaging defensive linemen before they are fully out of their stance. At this point he’s better at finesse run blocker than power blocker. He’s not going to overwhelm guys with brute strength, but he can effectively swing his hips to create a crease or pull out on perimeter plays. Displays the ability to reach the second level and get his hands on linebackers and safeties. Does a nice job at breaking down in space, latching on to defenders, and finishing blocks. Fusco can get pretty nasty out on the field. He’s looking to make blocks with bad intentions.
Awareness: Shows very good awareness. Understands and recognizes defensive pre snap movement. Does a good job of identifying delayed blitzers, twists and stunts. Always keeps his head on a swivel.
Toughness: Letting Fusco get into your pads means you are stuck with him until the play is over. He plays with a non stop motor and looks to demolish guys until the last second comes off the clock.
Intangibles: Fusco was a former offensive tackle, but made the transition to center in 2007. During his collegiate career, he received numerous awards including, the Riminigton and Upshaw Awards as the best center and lineman in D-II. He was also elected team captain two years in a row and won the teams MVP honors after the 2009 season.
Overall Stock: The 2011 center class is hugely weak. Teams that are looking for immediate starters will maybe only have the option of three players. The rest of the centers are developmental guys, including Brandon Fusco. I love his skill set and moxie, but the fact that he played inferior talent for his entire college career means that time will be needed for his transition to the NFL. I think given a year or two, Fusco will make for an excellent pro center. The thing that really stands out to me about him and sets him apart from other centers in this class (not named Pouncey), is his size. Sitting at 6’4″, 300 plus pounds, he has the body to work in any offensive scheme. I like him better for the Zone Blocking teams, but with an NFL strength program, he can work for power teams as well. As of late, he’s been getting looks and having private workouts from various teams. In a weak class, I expect this DII prospect to come off the board in the forth-fifth round.
NFL Comparison: Chris Myers