Second Round, No. 56 Overall
New England’s third-biggest need (behind a pass-rush and strengthening the OL) going into next season was a revamped running back corps, and that’s exactly what the Patriots did.
The team had two healthy running backs for the duration of the 2010 season in Ben-Jarvus Green Ellis and Danny Woodhead. Veterans Fred Taylor and Sammy Morris saw limited playing time, and Patriot cornerstone, Kevin Faulk, sustained a season-ending injury in Week 2 of the season.
In 2009, the Patriots used a rotating cast of Laurence Maroney, Taylor and Morris in the backfield, with Faulk and Green-Ellis getting snaps everywhere in between.
Next year’s running game should shape up the same way with rookie Shane Vereen out of California.
While not known for his speed, Vereen is quick enough to beat defenders by bouncing to the outside. He is also a very good runner up the middle with the agility and ability to quickly change direction and find holes.
Vereen is also a threat to receive passes in the flat and other screen plays. Like Kevin Faulk, Vereen is a good receiver who can give Tom Brady another target in third-down situations.