Even after re-signing Rex Burkhead and adding Jeremy Hill, the New England Patriots still are exploring ways to bolster their running back group.
Free agent running back Orleans Darkwa is visiting the Patriots on Monday, a source told NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport.
Darkwa, whom Rapoport called “one of the sleepers of (this) free agent class,” spent the last three-and-a-half seasons with the New York Giants after beginning his career with the Miami Dolphins.
The 2017 campaign easily was his best, as he carried the ball 171 times for 751 yards and five touchdowns in 15 games for the Giants (11 starts). He also caught 19 passes for 116 yards, and his 4.4 yards per carry was tied for 10th in the NFL.
The 26-year-old previously had been an afterthought in New York’s offense, amassing just 287 rushing yards over his first three NFL seasons. He primarily played in the kicking game during that span, ranking third on the Giants in special teams snaps in 2015.
Darkwa is listed at 6-foot, 210 pounds. He entered the league as an undrafted free agent out of Tulane in 2014.
The Patriots, who lost star rusher Dion Lewis to the Tennessee Titans in free agency last month, currently have five running backs under contract — Burkhead, Hill, James White, Mike Gillislee and Brandon Bolden — and could add another in the 2018 NFL Draft.
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