(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Ever since Corey Dillon retired, the Patriots’ backfield has been confusing as hell. In the 2008 season, LaMont Jordan, Kevin Faulk, Sammy Morris, and BenJarvus Green-Ellis all had brief bursts of fantasy relevance. Completely absent from this is Laurence Maroney.
The twenty-first overall pick in the 2006 draft has already been labeled a bust by Patriots fans. A total of sixteen games played in the past two seasons, best remembered for an impressive level of inconsistency, left a bitter taste in the mouth of fantasy players. To top it all off, a combination of effective play from Sammy Morris, (4.6 yards per carry in 2007 and 2008) Kevin Faulk, (6.1 ypc, 58 receptions for 486 yards) and the Patriots’ signing of Fred Taylor have put Maroney out-of-mind with anyone who pays attention to the Pats.
Their loss, though.
Maroney is a rare combination of speed and power. He ran a 4.48 forty on his Pro Day back in 2006, and, back when he was actually playing with Dillon, not a game went by when they didn’t talk about how Dillon worked with him during practice, teaching him his brutal, legendary, tackler-stuffing stiff arm. Maroney was limited in his brief 2008 season because of a shoulder injury, (a broken shoulder, to be precise) which made him unable to show any of the power he had in his first two seasons, like here:
where he runs head-first into a pile of Titans for a touchdown, or here:
where he embarrasses defenders in the infamous 52-7 win over the Redskins.
Just watching a play like this:
reminds you that Maroney is talented.
Another thing to consider is that, good as New England’s RBs have been, they’re really freaking old. Morris is 32, Faulk will be 33 in June, and Fred Taylor will be 34 in time for the postseason. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, despite his fantasy relevance last season, is not really electrifying. Maroney is the future in New England.
While Maroney is probably going to end up somewhere in standard ten team leagues, try and make sure he ends up on your team.