GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 08: John Kuhn #30 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints during the NFL opening season game at Lambeau Field on September 8, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Draft weekend is kinda like Christmas for Packer fans. It's that time of year where we know the organization is going to go out and really upgrade the team, giving Packer fans a bunch of players that we can talk and get excited about. We also know that the Ted Thompson and company aren't going to give us much the rest of the year; so like a kid who gets really nice Christmas presents and not much on her birthday, we really look forward to the draft and spend days and weeks going over it again and again. As a result of this sometimes we miss a small pieces of news that pops up around the same time. For me it was the news that John Kuhn was voted to the Top 100 Players list on NFL Network.
Wait....John Kuhn is considered to be one of the top 100 players in the NFL? Really?
Yup, really. What may be even more surprising though is that I don't disagree with his placement there. John Kuhn probably is one of the top 100 players in the league as surprising as that may sound.
Rod Woodson and I may not agree with Kuhn's placement on the list, but I don't disagree with many of the points he made in the linked video clip. The fullback is a dying position in the NFL. John Kuhn probably is not a better player, or relied on more by his team, than some of the other players lower on the list than him (most notably Marshawn Lynch or Chris Johnson). Heck, I even believe that teams don't game plan around Kuhn one little bit, much like Woodson said the Raiders did not due when facing the Packers this past year.
Despite all of these things I believe Kuhn has earned his place on the list by being part fullback, part halfback, part third down back, part special teamer, and part folk hero. This line of thought goes back to the summer of 2010. At this point in Packer history the legend of John Kuhn had not been formed yet and the fullback Packer fans were more interested in was Quinn Johnson. Kuhn himself was seen as an interchangable with Corey Hall. Today Johnson and Hall are gone, but Kuhn remains and the reason why he has stuck with the Pack is the same reason why his spot on the Top 100 is legit. It's because he is the best used fullback in the game today.
Today's NFL is not a game of brute force like it was a generation ago. It is rare to see a team line up their guys, run the power sweep and simply run over the other team. Now the game is much more like chess, finding and creating mismatches and then exploiting those mismatches. Having a player like Kuhn how can contribute in so many phases of the game...blocking, receiving, rushing, and special teams....allows the team to carry more specialized players and keep the defense guessing when Kuhn lines up on the field.
This may not be the mismatch created when guys like Calvin Johnson or Jermichael Finely create simply by their physical tools, but it is still a mismatch that Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy can create in order to score points and move the sticks. This is why he is so loved here. It's the reason he outlasted Hall and Johnson. It's the reason why he is one of the top 100 players in the league.