Lions add 'physical presence': SDSU FB Nick Bawden

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
Nick Bawden

Allen Park – Allen Park – One year after they eliminated the fullback from the team’s offense, the Detroit Lions drafted a lead blocker in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL draft, selecting San Diego State’s Nick Bawden No. 237 overall.

"Just something we kind of wanted to add to the mix to kind of give our offense a little bit more of, I’d say, a physical presence,” general manager Bob Quinn said. “Listen, it’s a seventh-round pick, so I mean, it is what it is, but he’s a guy that we liked. We wanted to add a fullback this offseason and he was a good value at that pick.”

Measuring in at 6-foot-2, 245 pounds, Bawden blocked ahead of Rashaad Penny and Donnel Pumphrey the past two seasons, when each cracked the 2,000-yard mark for the Aztecs.

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A former quarterback recruited by Harvard, Bawden converted to fullback as a sophomore after he was told he wouldn’t crack the top-3 on San Diego State’s depth chart. 

“It was definitely something that I wasn’t open to at first,” Bawden said. “I had no idea that I had it in me to be able to play fullback because I knew how hard of a position it was. I knew how tough you had to be and everything that goes along with that. At first I really didn’t believe that I could do it, but I wanted to stay in San Diego. I loved our coaches. I loved everything that we were going toward, so I was willing to give it a chance.”

Already a weight room regular, Bawden slowly added 10 pounds to his frame each of the next two seasons to make the adjustment. 

“I started lifting when I was like in seventh grade,” he said. “I wanted to be the strongest quarterback in the league, so I really took pride in how strong I went at my training. So, it wasn’t too hard of a transition from there.”

Bawden rarely carried the ball after the position change, but did average 8.0 yards on his 30 rushing attempts.