The New England Patriots added even more offensive support when they selected Wisconsin running back James White in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL draft.
The Pats will certainly have many weapons to turn to out of the backfield in the upcoming season, but out of Brandon Bolden, Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen and White, who should get the most touches?
Ridley is coming off an up-and-down year after losing his starting job following four fumbles in 10 games. But he has proven to be effective when he holds onto the ball, and if he can produce like he did in 2012 when he rushed for 1,273 yards and 12 touchdowns, Ridley could be the key part of the Pats’ offense they envisioned him to be.
Vereen, meanwhile, has shown flashes of brilliance, but injuries have plagued the third-down back. Vereen amassed 635 total yards (208 rushing, 427 receiving) last season, but staying healthy will be his biggest challenge in 2014. Bolden, the last of New England’s veteran RB corps, faces perhaps the biggest challenge heading into the season out of the group as his roster spot is by no means guaranteed. Bolden will need a strong showing in the preseason, but his versatility could prove valuable to the Pats.
As for White, he figures to be a part of the future as he’s signed for the next four years, and Vereen, Ridley and Bolden are all entering contract years. Unlike Ridley, ball security is not an issue for the University of Wisconsin product as he fumbled just two times in 754 career touches with the Badgers. It is widely assumed White will back up Vereen, so he might have to wait for his chance to shine on the gridiron.