A Cleveland Browns podcast

Browns Nick Harris quietly establishing himself at fullback

Browns fans–though not necessarily the mainstream media–have observed that the Browns have a new fullback for 2023. He’s big, bad Nick Harris, all 6-foot-1 and 293 pounds of him, and he has been blowing open holes in enemy defensive lines all season.

More casual fans may not realize that the Browns even have a fullback, thinking that that position was part of the leather helmet days. Not so.

Harris at one time was thought to be heir apparent to J.C. Tretter, who retired after eight NFL seasons, many of which were near Pro Bowl caliber. The Browns liked his work at center, but he wound up getting injured at the end of training camp in 2022, and Ethan Pocic has played lights out ever since.

Rather than sit on the bench and mope, Harris has found a new role at fullback. Rather than being a small offensive lineman, he is a BIG fullback and hits like a ton of bricks. This is one way to have a running game without Nick Chubb–run behind a 293 pound fullback. It seems to be working.

By the way, Pro Football Focus does not even list his play as a fullback. They consider him a “tackle eligible,” it seems. That is just lazy. Are you sure that you even watch the games?  Come on PFF, if he lines up like a fullback, looks like a fullback, waddles like a fullback, quacks like a fullback, he may, in fact, be a fullback. Other than a brief stint playing center versus the Ravens when Pocic was injured, he has in fact lined up behind the line of scrimmage as an eligible receiver. Continuing to classify him strictly as an offensive lineman makes no sense.

Harris is the Browns’ answer to huge 311 pound Patrick Ricard of Baltimore, a converted defensive lineman who has run over opposing defenses for years. Harris has a similar style, blowing holes through the line for Kareem Hunt, Jerome Ford and Pierre Strong to run through.

Kevin Stefanski and Offensive Coordinator Alex Van Pelt are also fond of using the 22 personnel group (two tight ends, a fullback and a running back), because they were not terrorizing anyone with their WR2 and WR3.There isn’t anything very deceptive if you line up Harris with two big tight ends, but the real question is whether the defense can stop it, particularly in short yardage.

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Podcast Transcript

Coach Kevin Stefanski is still featuring a run-first offense, particularly in the absence of Deshaun Watson. Nick Harris has moved to the fullback role to add some heft to the running game.  With the big man in there charging ahead and throwing blocks, suddenly the Browns are a threat on the ground, even without Nick Chubb.


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