Cincinnati Bengals running back James Wilder Jr. is taking his transition to fullback fairly seriously.
With Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill monopolizing most of the team's production at running back, Cincinnati is trying to find alternative positions for players like Wilder (they're doing the same with Rex Burkhead at wide receiver). The former college free agent (2014) out of Florida State University has taken a handful of snaps at fullback in recent weeks during OTAs. His commitment to re-branding himself includes adding on more weight and lots of eating, writes Coley Harvey with ESPN:
"I'm drinking protein shakes and [eating] peanut butter and jellies all day," the second-year back said about the calorie-rich snacks he regularly consumes between his five meals per day. "I don't want to put on bad, sloppy weight. I'm making sure I put on good weight."
Up 10 pounds since his return, Wilder is a mere four away from the 240-pound mark coaches want him to hit by training camp. The goal? To get him heavier and stronger while preserving his speed and quickness. What's the deeper goal? To transition Wilder into a fullback/tailback hybrid.
Wilder spent the entire season last year on the Bengals' practice squad. He logged 54-yards rushing during the preseason, scoring a touchdown and averaging 3.9 yards/rush.