Next Man Up: Kyle Juszczyk


It’s been a motto that has surrounded Ozzie Newsome and his staff for years. “Next Man Up” isn’t just a general phrase, but one that Newsome firmly believes in and that has proven to be vital during his tenure as GM of the team.

After it was announced that Vonta Leach’s time in Baltimore is over, one rookie fullback was probably the happiest rookie Raven. Kyle Juszczyk, the team’s 4th round draft pick now holds the “next man up” role at the starting fullback spot.

While the fact that the team is letting Leach walk seems to indicate that the power-running game won’t be as intense this year, Juszczyk is very capable of filling the void left by “Leeeeeach”.

Juszczyk is the first Harvard player drafted since 2005, and it’s very deserving. The 6’1” almost 250 pound fullback is a wrecking ball. He proved in college to any defender tackling a one-on-one batting against him, they weren’t going to win. He’s very similar to Leach when we think of power in the running game, something that could be beneficial to Jim Caldwell.

Caldwell can use Juszczyk anywhere however, even in the pass game. He led the Ivy League with eight touchdowns through the air, adding to his career total of 22 receiving TDs. He often played as a tight end, leaking off of the line and powering through the defense, but Harvard used him out in the flat as a receiver as well. He’ll line up in front of Ray Rice, but he won’t be limited to being a lead-blocker. Don’t be surprised if you see Juszczyk line up in at least three different spots this season.

In the end, money certainly played a huge role in this potential offense-changing decision. RSR’s Kris Jones explained why this move makes total sense financially:

Cutting Leach may not have been the most popular option around Baltimore, but it was necessary considering the financial constraints against the team with limited salary cap flexibility. The Ravens won a Super Bowl with Leach standing on the sidelines more often than not; I’m fine with the release even though I think they’ll miss his contributions in the locker room.

If someone was going to be consuming $3 million per season and only on the field 41 percent of the time, most would likely chose it to be spent on a wide receiver not currently on the roster.

Juszczyk is going to contribute in more ways than one, and the goal-line game might get a whole lot better. The Ravens tried to use Vonta Leach as a goal-line threat in the passing and running game, but it hardly ever worked. Leach was a lead-blocker and that’s all. Yes, he was probably the best blocking fullback in the game, but he didn’t have the versatility that Juszczyk has.

Whether it’s a 3rd-and-2, or 2nd-and-15, there is a way that the Ravens 4th round pick fits in the scheme. I think you’ll be seeing a lot of Juszczyk this year, and M&T Bank Stadium might be yelling “Juuuuuuuice” many times in 2013!

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About Joe Wedra

Joe Wedra
Joe is an NFL enthusiast that spends way too much time studying tape, but he wouldn't want it any other way. Joe can be found on Twitter @JoeWedra, where he'll tweet out everything from Ravens analysis to scouting reports on Division II offensive line prospects...all for the love of the...more

16 Raves on “Next Man Up: Kyle Juszczyk

  1. Dr. Evil on said:

    Really stoked for all the rookies this season, but most of all for Juice! His versatility means Flacco will be able to run no-huddle and burn defenses on mismatches more and more. Wish we could have kept Leach too. He will be missed on the field and in the locker room. But the future of the team and the league are with hybrid players like Juszczyk.

  2. Chris S on said:

    “He proved in college to any defender tackling a one-on-one batting against him, they weren’t going to win.”

    No chance you watch college football, much less Harvard. You based all this off second-hand info and grainy youtube videos.

    • Billy Blastoff on said:

      No one watches Harvard football. Except alums. And I can’t imagine too many Harvard grads are writing for sports blogs, so…. no one is allowed to write anything about Juszczyk until the season starts? What if he watched the Senior Bowl, is he allowed to talk about him as long as he confines his comments to his perceptions of the events of that game?

    • TheWallyChamp on said:

      DING! And this is why Lombardi is a hack for letting this kid write op-eds. Juszczyk has no big game experience and played only against Ivy League softies. But again, this kid is crowning him the next Leach. Get a clue!

      • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

        If taking a young writer and helping him to develop makes me a hack, then I’m ok with that. You have choices Wally but instead you seem to prefer undermining the efforts of a teenager. Nice.

        If you would spend as much time on a blog of your own as you do lashing out at others, MAYBE you’d have something.

        We’ll even give you the opportunity here as a guest blogger, assuming of course it’s decent enough to get by our editor.

        Send it along to

        Cue up the crickets and/or excuses…

  3. TheWallyChamp on said:

    Maybe I’d have something? I was an editor on the Stanford Law review and clerked on the federal appellate level before going into private practice. This proves two things:

    1. I’m the best writer and editor you have ever had a conversation with

    2. I have something. Moreover, I have several things.

    The truth is, the only reason I’m finding your poorly written articles is because it’s being re-tweeted by someone I follow on twitter. Instead of being so thin-skinnned about some punk kid, you should be glad you have at least one reader that is offering constructive criticism.

    But being the hack you are, you would rather shift the blame for your website’s poor writing to me, rather than owning it and making your site better. Sure Tony, I’ll write for your site, but we need to agree on my fee, that I’ll have final edit and that I and the sole owner of anything that is published. When do we meet up?

    You were speaking on crickets or excuses… Here is the point in this conversation when you can use your own.

  4. TheWallyChamp on said:

    You don’t negotiate publicly? Since when? O__o

    Something tells me you wouldn’t agree to the terms privately either.

    • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

      There are no guarantees Wally.

      How about an audition? We need to have a sampling of what we’re investing in. Knocking out a 600 word piece on a Ravens centric topic shouldn’t be too difficult for someone with your alleged journalistic prowess.

  5. TheWallyChamp on said:

    Sure. As long as you agree that: whatever I write is my intellectual property, that it will not be published or shared publicly without agreed upon compensation and that I have final edit if you decide to publish. It’s really not that hard. I can type 600 words in a few hours, so long as you agree to my terms. What’s the big deal?

  6. TheWallyChamp on said:

    The words I’m looking Tony for is: Yes I agree.

    The rate I’ll accept is $250 per hour. My hourly fee with a $50 discount for Ravens fans. Which of course, isn’t payable unless the article is published or shared publicly. So before putting the ball in my court you have a few magic words to utter before you get the genie’s magic.

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