The Saints stayed consistent at the league’s most undervalued position in 2020.
Fullback has been a vanishing position in the NFL for decades now. Long gone are the days of Tom Rathman or Mike Alstott being vital parts of offenses, but Sean Payton still has a place for these dying breeds, and Michael Burton has been the latest in a long line of solid contributing fullbacks, following Mike Karney, Heath Evans, Jed Collins, and Zach Line. Despite a camp/preseason appearance with the team in 2019, Burton completed his first full season with the New Orleans Saints in 2020. Much like his predecessors, his season wasn’t spectacular, but it was solid.
Burton’s primary functions came on special teams and, of course, as lead blocker for the Saints rushing attack. Outside of those roles, Burton still did see the ball come his way on occasion. At 6’0, 240 lb, Burton not only resembled his predecessor in size, but also in stats, providing similar numbers to Line, who retired in the offseason. Burton had 4 receptions on 4 targets for 28 yards. 7 yards-per-catch without an incompletion is pretty great by any measure. On the ground, he had 7 carries for 18 yards and 6 first downs converted, basically everything Payton is asking for at that position.
A player like Burton, whose versatility gives him value in Sean Payton’s offense will likely continue to be valued by the Saints going forward. He now enters unrestricted free agency, but is unlikely to be valued more by any other team than the Saints. New Orleans has been a good spot for Michael Burton and he provides a valuable contribution to the team. Hopefully a deal gets done this offseason and we will see Michael Burton back in Black and Gold.
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