Las Vegas Raiders roster review: Fullbacks

In the first season in front of fans at Allegiant Stadium, the Las Vegas Raiders achieved double-digit wins and made the playoffs for the first time since 2016.  

A big part of the playoff push has been their leadership, even if a player does not accumulate eye-popping numbers and does the little things for his team.  

As the art of fullback is starting to remake itself in the NFL, it has been on display for the Raiders for the past couple of seasons.

Today, we’re taking a look back at the Raiders’ fullbacks.

Alec Ingold

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The advantage of using an extra blocker in an offensive scheme compared to another receiver benefits teams that want to be run-heavy.

As the Raiders relied on running back Josh Jacobs, having another blocker was probably the difference in getting a critical first down throughout the season.

For most of 2021, that extra blocker was fullback Alec Ingold.

In 2020, Ingold played all 16 games and when he got the football, it was in the passing game as the 6-foot-1 fullback totaled 12 receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown.

Entering this season, Ingold had high hopes to see success in a position that continues to be revitalized in the NFL. With his leadership – both on offense and special teams – Ingold was named a team captain by his peers before the beginning of the season.

Ingold, who went undrafted and signed with the Raiders in 2019, played in nine games in 2021 and caught 10 passes for 85 yards and a touchdown, which came against Miami in Week 3.

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However, Ingold’s season came to a halt in a home game on Sunday Night Football against Kansas City in November when he tore his ACL on a special teams play.

“It’s a big loss,” interim head coach Rich Bisaccia said after the Raiders 41-14 loss on Nov. 14. “Again, not only the player, but who he is and what he brings to our team and the leadership role and the role that he plays as a man.”

Rich Bisaccia speaking about the loss of Las Vegas Raiders fullback Alec Ingold

Now in the recovery process, Ingold is expected to be ready by the beginning of next season.

The 26-year-old is a restricted free agent this offseason and if the new Raiders offensive coordinator wants to have a fullback in the scheme, expect Ingold to return, in addition to his voice as a leader and the role he has on special teams.   

Sutton Smith

Following the injury to Ingold, the team signed fullback Sutton Smith to the practice squad and he played in the following game against Cincinnati.

In addition to fullback, Smith played on special teams during his time in the Silver and Black from Nov. 21 to the end of the season, including in the AFC Wild Card game.

The 25-year-old, who was a late-round pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2019, played 11 offensive snaps against Denver on Dec. 26 when Jacobs reached the 100-yard rushing plateau for the first time this season.

Outside the game against Denver, Smith did not see double-digit snaps on offense and filled in as Ingold’s backup on special teams.

As an exclusive rights free agent, meaning he has played three seasons but has an expired contract, the Las Vegas Raiders have the opportunity to bring Smith back on a one-year deal at league minimum before possibly negotiating with other teams when NFL free agency begins on March 16.

Up next: Las Vegas Raiders wide receivers

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