With the San Francisco 49ers having a crowded backfield at running back during training camp, and only a limited number of roster spots, Anthony Dixon is realizing he may be the odd-man out. The 49ers added Brandon Jacobs and LaMichael James in the offseason to go along with Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and Dixon. The team will most likely only keep four running backs on the regular season roster. Dixon is entering his third-year in the NFL, all with the 49ers, and he knows the only way he will stay in San Francisco is with a position change. Recently, Dixon reportedly asked and received permission from Jim Harbaugh to try out at fullback.
Since Sunday, Dixon has been working out at fullback and he will continue to see work at running back. Trying to make the squad as a fullback ups the chances the former Mississippi State running back will make the final roster, however, the fullback position is equally as crowded. Bruce Miller held down the roster spot last season after converting as a defensive lineman and did a great job for the 49ers. He is the current frontrunner to win the job. The 49ers also added running back Rock Cartwright in the offseason who will also compete at fullback, but he is expected to mainly play on special teams where he shined last season while with the Raiders. At training camp the 49ers are also experimenting with defensive lineman Will Tukuafu as a fullback.
A big question with Dixon is, can he transition from running back to fullback? It seems like an easy transition for him, especially given the fact he has been the 49ers short-yardage/power running back the last two seasons. While at Mississippi State, Dixon was used as the option running back which saw him blocking often on offense.
Dixon may have been listed as a running back the last two seasons, however, his numbers during that span are closer to fullback numbers: 70 carries for 237 yards and two touchdowns in 2010, and 29 carries for 87 yards and two touchdowns in 2011. Each of Dixon’s four career touchdowns were very much like a fullback, with one 2-yard touchdown run and three one-yard touchdown runs.
I told him (Jim Harbaugh) right now I could be a dual threat to help the team. I’m just trying to separate myself and I feel like if I can do both, that’ll put me in a different category. Coaches are saying it’s a great move and I think it’s a great move.