Upside: Grade A
Tony (Placido) Fiammetta has the size, strength and toughness to play fullback for the Panthers for many years to come. He led all RB's at the combine with 30 reps on the bench and was the top ranked fullback on many scouts boards simply for his ability to deliver a block. Fiammetta is also known for his ability to cut block DT's and stone crashing DE's long enough to execute most running plays. When you throw is his ability to catch the ball you can understand why he has a lot of upside. Fiammetta will also have the benefit of learning behind the best FB in Panther history (IMO) in Brad Hoover for a season or two.
Off the field Fiammetta brings the type of background the Panthers love. His father, whom he credits for his self-discipline and work ethic, is a long-time Marine who just returned from a tour Afghanistan just in time for the draft. In addition to football, Fiammetta also lettered four years
at Syracuse in High School in Lacrosse. He had to be every opposing lacrosse players' nightmare, a 245 lb center-mid who can run a 4.6! Fiammetta loves contact sports and he seems like a guy who can (if asked) add a new dimension to the Panther offense.
The only real negative in the scouting reports is Fiammetta stays too high with his blocks and is not flexible in his upper body when catching the ball. So don't expect any Calvin Johnson-type catches from the guy. The worst case scenario with this pick in my view is he ends up no more than a straight blocker, similar to his new mentor, except with fresher legs.
Fit: Grade A
There is no doubt where this guy fits. He at some point sooner or later will be the starting fullback on a run-oriented offense. He could simply fulfill the same role as Brad Hoover or as previously pointed out he could add a receiving element to the position should the Panthers chose to utilize it. He could even be considered for an H-back role or even a 3rd TE utilized in certain packages. The final fit might be on special teams. Fiammetta seems to think he can excel on kick coverage as well.
In summary I think Tony Fiammetta would have to really bomb in training camp to not stay on the roster. The Panthers have always brought in a FB to two to challenge Hoover and every year the challenger gets cut. I think that changes this year.
Player specific links:
- Here's my favorite part of his Q&A on Panthers.com:
On what he likes about Panthers' fullback Brad Hoover: I've noticed his consistency and his professionalism. It seems like every play matters to him. Just watching him last year, he was on fire from the fullback position. He was making blocks everywhere and opening up holes. If I can get to that level one day I would be more than excited.
- The Hoov was on fie-ya! I love it. I also love the ending of this little excerpt from mini-camp titled "He just needed to hit something".
- If anyone can find video on this guy please post to a link because I haven't found squat. I wouldn't mind some footage of him playing Lacrosse either.