Perfect Fit: Pressley built for two-back NFL

Chris Pressley (Getty Images)

Wisconsin fullback Chris Pressley has experience blocking for two different types of backs. If the Bills plan on employing a full-scale two-back system next season, Pressley may be a wise pick. BFR's Tyler Dunne talked to him for this draft profile...

Someone working for YouTube should really flash a government-mandated "Warning, what you are about to see…" screen before the video begins.

Peppered by barks of teammates and the heavy base of a rap song, a shirtless Chris Pressley squats 605 pounds nine times. The video has been viewed more than 80,000 times and is downright scary. The bar bends like a straw, Pressley releases a thundering battle cry before the final rep… and through it all you can't help but get goose bumps imagining the damage this guy could inflict in a contact sport.

There's a reason "dsantacruz" in the Extreme BodyBuilding message board wrote, "he could squat my house." Pressley, a fullback from Wisconsin, oozes with strength.

"I'm a strength guy," Pressley said. "I like training my body and lifting weights and I'm trying to transfer that to the field best I can."

One of the Buffalo Bills' numerous needs this off-season is a true fullback like Pressley. Turk Schonert re-introduce the position to the team's offense in 2007, but Corey McIntyre doesn't seem like a long-term answer. In the mid-to-low rounds, Buffalo will probably consider a fullback to infuse into one of the league's best dual-back threats.

And at 6-foot-1, 259 pounds, the throwback Pressley is equipped to start in Buffalo's plus-sized rushing attack. More precisely, Pressley is tailor made to pave the way for complementary backs. At Wisconsin, he blocked for both Brian Calhoun and P.J. Hill --- two completely different running backs. One dash. One mash. Pressley needed to gel with both. As more pro teams adopt two-back systems, fullback versatility is a premium.

"Pro teams are definitely trying to have those two backs --- a big downhill runner and a faster, more mobile type back," Pressley said. "If you can block for both of those guys I think it's definitely an advantage for a pro team."

In four seasons with the Badgers, Pressley only touched the ball 27 times (25 carries, two receptions), instead shoveling the trail for the Big Ten's No. 1 ranked rushing attack in ‘08. Last season behind Pressley, Hill and backup John Clay combined for 2,045 yards and 22 touchdowns. Before Hill, Pressley helped the diminutive Calhoun rush for 1,636 yards and 22 scores in '05.


Chris Pressley anchored a rushing attack that finished first in the Big Ten last season.
Getty Images

Such polar opposite styles required Pressley to block from a variety of angles. For Calhoun, he ballooned to the edge and reacted to his tackle and tight end. Stretch and outside zone plays were the norm. For Hill, he isolated one-on-one with linebackers. Straight-ahead, between-the-tackles blocks were the norm.

It's early, but Pressley said he has perused NFL rosters to see where he could fit in. Block-first fullbacks are increasingly in high-demand. The Bills are on his radar.

"Definitely a team like the Raiders, or even Buffalo, the Eagles, Chicago just moved some guys around."

Still, Pressley hopes teams realize his potential isn't confined to blocking.

"I think I have a lot more to offer than just a traditional fullback. I'm a blocker," he said. "I love getting in there and being on target and moving guys out of the way for the running back. But I also think I can be utilized in the passing game in dump-offs and help in the short-yardage running game."

That may true, but Pressley's obvious attribute is strength ---frightening strength that has weightlifting forums buzzing.

Pressley said his squat max is 780 pounds. His bench max, 460 pounds. The humble, well-spoken fullback hopes scouts know his bulk has a purpose --- that he has power and knows how to use it. For years he's modeled himself after Lorenzo Neal. With a similar build, Pressley's hoping to display similar leverage at the next level.

"I think if they see that I'm strong and that I can bend at the knees and at the waist they'll know my strength is more than just being a weightlifting guy. When they watch film they can see that I do a lot more. I can bend and get down with linebackers coming into the hole."

Physical prowess (or football itself for that matter) compromises only half of Chris Pressley's life. He graduated with a perfect 4.0 GPA and two degrees. After missing the entire 2005 season with a leg injury, Pressley spent one month studying abroad in China. He said that someday he may put his international business degree to use, "especially the economics" side of it all.

That can wait for now, though. Pressley isn't climbing into many draft rankings quite yet. Marginal statistical output has flown him under the mainstream for now. But with each click onto YouTube, his strength is revealed. It's not raw, unpolished power either. Pressley's body of work is built for the modern NFL --- the two-back-dominated NFL.

If Buffalo does indeed plan to build around Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson, Pressley could be the missing piece.

Click here for the video mentioned above.

Tyler Dunne is the Publisher of the Buffalo Football Report and also writes for The Packer Report. Contact him at thdunne@gmail.com

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