Selected by: [URL="http://www.nfl.com/draft/2009/tracker#dt-tabs:dt-by-team/dt-by-position-input:rb/dt-by-team-input:cin"]Cincinnati Bengals[/URL]
Round: [URL="http://www.nfl.com/draft/2009/tracker#dt-tabs:dt-by-round/dt-by-round-input:7"]7[/URL] (2009)
Pick (Overall): [URL="http://www.nfl.com/draft/2009/tracker#dt-tabs:dt-by-round/dt-by-round-input:7"]6 (215)[/URL]
Pick Analysis:[/B] Vakapuna is a big, strong running back. He does not have as much quickness or change-of-direction skill, but he's a situational running back that can be productive at the goal line. The Bengals locked in on Vakapuna at the BYU Pro Day and then followed through with the pick.
Vakapuna was recruited by Nebraska, Utah, Oregon, Utah State and Washington, but the Salt Lake native chose to stay home and attend BYU.
Ater redshirting in 2002, Vakapuna had 30 carries in eight games in 2003 before serving a two-year church mission in Carlsbad, Calif. He returned in 2006, appearing in 12 of 13 games in 2006. He battled through a broken hand in 2007 to carry the ball 73 times and serve as an important blocker.
He wasn't as involved in the running game last season, carrying just 54 times while adding 10 receptions. But he was a valued blocker in front of Harvey Unga.
"I think Harvey should be taking Fui out to dinner, or to lunch once in a while," said quarterback Max Hall. "Because right now Fui is playing very unselfish and doing all of the little things right to make not only the run game, but the pass protections and everything, work. You'll see in some of the games he'll take on his blocker, knock him down and then go to someone else -- and get another block. And then Harvey will run for 15 more yards."
Vakapuna has been limited by a variety of injuries the past few seasons (hand, ankle, hamstring), but will be given a look as a blocking back after performing well in agility and strength drills. He has been compared to former BYU teammate Naufahu Tahi, who is currently with the Minnesota Vikings.
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Positives: Typical Polynesian build with the bulk to handle NFL punishment. Good vision to locate and get through the hole. Surprising lateral agility to make defenders miss in the open field. Bullish interior runner who can drag tacklers for extra yardage. Good lower, leg drive. Flashes soft hands out of the backfield as a receiver. High effort player.
[B]Negatives:[/B] Lacks the agility and straight-line speed to be a true running back at the next level. Has never been the bell-cow back and will only be successful at the next level as part of a rotation. Inconsistent effort and technique as a blocker. Has struggled with durability throughout his career. Enters the NFL older than most (24) due to time served on an LDS mission.
Sep 5, 2009
Bengals released FB [URL="http://www.fantasysp.com/nfl_player_news/Fui_Vakapuna/"]Fui Vakapuna[/URL]. Vakapuna just wasn't a physical enough blocker to make the squad. Since [URL="http://www.fantasysp.com/nfl_player_news/Brian_Leonard/"]Brian Leonard[/URL] was kept, he could fill in at fullback if the Bengals need.[LEFT][COLOR=#000000]
Read more: [URL]http://www.fantasysp.com/player/nfl/Fui_Vakapuna/510104#ixzz1wGj9MoEw[/URL]
This doesn't really come as much of a surprise. Most knew that Pressley was favored for the fullback job throughout the entire preseason.
The Bengals selected Vakapuna in the seventh round of the 2009 draft out of BYU. He was cut by the Bengals before the '09 season began and signed with the [URL="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/teams/arizona-cardinals"]Arizona Cardinals[/URL] practice squad. He was resigned by the Bengals in November of '09.
In 2010, he was placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury before the regular season began. He has no regular season game experience. He'll likely be known more for his hair style in Cincinnati than anything else.
Head scratcher. He has no track record, and Sparano isn't big on pure FB anyway.
The scenario that makes most sense: Josh Baker likely to make team as swing-back, giving you at least the option of running sets with FB. John Conner trade bait or cut candidate, but you want a body you can bring to camp, stick on the practice squad to prep for opposing teams, etc.[/QUOTE]
For whatever it's worth, I'll be extremely dissapointed in the Jets if they cut bait on a young talent like Connor after one season of play.
Then again, most of what the team, is doing on "O" this offseason is, frankly, a head-scratcher to me. I support them, but I honestly have no idea what they're doing on "O" or what our "O" is going to look like come opening day. Exciting, but scary too.