2023 Prototypical Patriots: Safety blanket RBs out there in NFL Draft – thqaftqlm

2023 Prototypical Patriots: Safety blanket RBs out there in NFL Draft

Working again is a place Invoice Belichick has chosen 12 occasions in his tenure as Patriots coach. Going all the way in which again to his first, JR Redmond in 2000, to Rhamondre Stevenson in 2021, there are some developments which have emerged.

The obvious? The Patriots like dimension. They’ve by no means drafted a again checking in beneath 200 kilos. With early-down runners, they usually search for somebody within the 215-pound vary. Assume Sony Michel (214), Damien Harris (216) and Laurence Maroney (217). However Patriots backs have climbed all the way in which as much as nearer to 225 or 230 kilos at occasions. Assume Stevenson (231), Stevan Ridley (225) or final yr’s sixth-round choose Kevin Harris (221).

Subsequent Pats Podcast: What’s happening with Mac Jones, why a commerce down could possibly be within the Patriots future, 1-on-1 with Tyler Scott | Hear & Observe | Watch on YouTube

Even third-down backs have had sturdy builds to assist them maintain up towards NFL punishment as ball-carriers and pass-protectors. James White checked in at 204 kilos in 2014, whereas Shane Vereen weighed 210 kilos in 2011. Final spring, the Patriots chosen Pierre Sturdy as a again with receiving capability at 207 kilos. Sure Patriots backs have made their option to Foxboro regardless of being undersized, like Dion Lewis (193) and JJ Taylor (185), however neither was drafted by Belichick.

Patriots backs — early-down runners or sub backs — have been good athletes however not essentially burners. Most posted 40-yard dashes faster than 4.6 seconds, however not a lot faster. Michel (4.54), Harris (4.57) and White (4.57) did not mild up stopwatches. For years, Belichick’s quickest backs — Vereen (4.49), Maroney (4.48) and Redmond (4.48) — hovered across the 4.5 mark as nicely. That was till he drafted the speedy Sturdy (4.37) so his priorities could also be shifting.

Traditionally, having satisfactory agility — a short-shuttle within the 4.2 vary and a couple of 7.0-second three-cone — appears to be of larger significance in Foxboro.

Perry’s Prototypical Patriots: Quarterbacks | Offensive linemen | Extensive receivers | Tight ends

Will the Patriots add a again after drafting two final yr? They simply let Damien Harris stroll through free company so that they could possibly be fascinated with including one other between-the-tackles physique to offer depth behind Stevenson and Kevin Harris. They is also on the lookout for a pass-catcher in the event that they really feel as if Sturdy is not fairly what they want on third down. 

Let’s get to their draftable choices…

Large backs

Bijan Robinson, Texas, 5-foot-11, 215 kilos

If the Patriots went this route, he’d need to be their first-round choose. We are able to debate the worth in making that form of determination, however there is no such thing as a debating Robinson’s expertise. He is one of many prime gamers on this class no matter place and one of many draft’s true blue-chippers. He is seemingly the very best again to enter the draft since Saquon Barkley. And he could also be higher than Barkley.

Perry: Is Bijan Robinson actually the precise transfer for Patriots at 14?

His imaginative and prescient, pace and elusiveness at his dimension are particular. And he has official receiving chops, together with comfortable palms and nuanced route-running capability. Would the Patriots determine a option to deploy each Robinson and Stevenson as do-it-all backs with completely different ability units? Would the Patriots draft Robinson understanding they want a “scary” offensive weapon? He is one of many few positive issues on this yr’s class in that regard. Simply laborious to ascertain. However possibly Belichick has a plan that he might tailor to each. It could be the last word zig-when-everyone-else-zags form of name from a coach who has grow to be recognized for these.

Zach Charbonnet, UCLA, 6-feet, 214 kilos

With a sturdy body and loads of athleticism (4.53-second 40), Charbonnet looks like the form of hard-nosed runner Belichick would admire. Is he the quickest? The slipperiest within the open subject? No and no. However he has no downside working by means of arm tackles and getting what’s been blocked for him.

He averaged a whopping 7.0 yards per carry final season, and he additionally confirmed he might perform on third down on the subsequent stage, reeling in 37 passes for 321 yards. If the Patriots need a do-it-all participant and not need to spend a first-round choose on him, Charbonnet appears like their sort.

Tank Bigsby, Auburn, 6-feet, 210 kilos

OK, in order it seems, there are a bunch of fellows who really feel like their sort. Add Bigsby to the checklist. For a coach in Belichick who loves a runner’s capability to get what’s not blocked, Bigsby will likely be attractive. In keeping with Professional Soccer Focus, he averaged a sturdy 4.2 yards after contact per try. His quickness for a again his dimension is uncommon — he has a James White-ish dead-leg move in space that helps him embarrass defenders — and his 40 time (4.45 seconds) would point out there’s extra lengthy pace there than a few of his in-game manufacturing suggests.

Roschon Johnson, Texas, 6-feet, 219 kilos

Did we point out there are a boatload of backs the Patriots might like on this class? That will perform as an argument towards taking one within the first spherical. If the Patriots choose to not go together with Robinson on Day 1, they may nab his teammate on Day 2. Although he did not rack up the manufacturing Robinson did, Johnson has all types of traits that working backs coaches will drool over. He finishes runs laborious — he averaged 6.0 yards per carry and scored 5 occasions final yr — and fumbled solely as soon as in his profession. He additionally served as a lead blocker at occasions for the Longhorns and he appears like top-of-the-line special-teamers within the class as an skilled and productive (seven tackles final season) participant within the kicking sport.

Like among the different “large backs” on this checklist, he has the power to catch (56 receptions in his profession) and go shield, so his offensive work would not be restricted to early downs. Sound like somebody Belichick would possibly like?

Chase Brown, Illinois, 5-foot-9, 209 kilos

If Belichick desires an honest-to-goodness scouting report from somebody at Illinois who would know, he might have it from Illini coach (and former Patriots assistant) Bret Bielema. Odds are he’ll like what Bielema has to say about this cut-up athlete who has no worry of hammering runs in tight areas between the tackles.

He had 5 fumbles in 2022, which might want to get cleaned up on the subsequent stage, however he was an incredible tester and his athletic upside (4.43-second 40, 40-inch vertical) might enable the Patriots to miss among the warts in his sport. Thanks partially to 27 catches for 240 yards and an eye-popping common of 136.9 rush yards per sport, Brown ranked fourth in all of FBS with 1,883 all-purpose yards.

Kenny McIntosh, Georgia, 6-feet, 204 kilos

McIntosh is perhaps finest suited to our “sub again” class, however he seems to have the power to do sufficient throughout all downs to warrant consideration for a extra well-rounded function. First, the receiving abilities are there. After which some. He racked up 509 receiving yards final yr, and in response to Professional Soccer Focus he did not document a single drop in 75 profession catchable targets. He additionally had simply two fumbles in 193 touches final season. However he additionally ran for five.5 yards per carry final season and picked up over 3.0 yards after contact per try. He might use some work as a go protector, however he has plenty of abilities that can play immediately on the subsequent stage.

Chris Rodriguez, Kentucky, 6-feet, 217 kilos

He’ll run proper by means of you with out a second thought. Rodriguez has the form of demeanor as a again that can play in Foxboro. He was additionally a two-time captain at Kentucky and was sturdy all through the course of his 5 years with the Wildcats. He did miss 4 video games final yr after being arrested for driving beneath the affect. And he does not appear to be he’ll be an element within the passing sport. But when the Patriots are on the lookout for a hard-charging again to present Stevenson a blow from time to time and preserve him contemporary for the lengthy haul, Rodriguez could be the form of addition that may tick off the linebackers and defensive backs pressured to deal with a couple of bruiser on the place for the Patriots.

Kendre Miller, TCU, 5-foot-11, 215 kilos

We do not have athletic testing knowledge on Miller, who’s coping with a knee harm forward of the draft. However he has the mixture of dimension and agility you do not usually discover. If a niche is roofed on the line, he has no problem bouncing laterally to the following. He pressured 70 missed tackles final season alone, in response to PFF, twelfth most within the nation.

Per Dane Brugler of the Athletic, Miller recorded no less than one play of 20 yards or extra in 12 of his 14 video games final yr. A tough-nosed runner who’ll battle by means of first contact and is unusually elusive for somebody his dimension? Including Miller would imply the Patriots have two such backs on the roster.

Deneric Prince, Tulsa, 6-feet, 216 kilos

Top-of-the-line athletes within the class on the place — significantly for somebody approaching 220 kilos — Prince might find yourself a Day 3 choose. His 4.41-second 40, 35.5-inch vertical and 6.97-second cone time are had been wonderful. There’s potential there. He did miss 4 video games final season after being deemed academically ineligible. Not precisely a “prototypical” path for the Patriots. However Prince has the dimensions and athletic profile that is price rolling the cube on later within the draft.

Sub again

Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama, 5-foot-9, 199 kilos

Gibbs is arguably the very best pass-catching again within the class. He dropped solely two passes on 103 catchable targets, per PFF, and he did not fumble regardless of 195 touches. He pressured a whopping 39 missed tackles after receptions over the past three years. Sure, he ran for 926 yards on 151 carries (6.1 common) final yr. However he is a tick beneath what the Patriots need by way of weight on the place. Nonetheless, his ability set — he ran a 4.36-second 40 on the mix — would possibly enable Belichick to make an exception to discover a dynamic expertise to tackle his offense’s sub function. 

Tyjae Spears, Tulane, 5-foot-10, 201 kilos

One of the entertaining gamers to look at in school soccer, Spears has accomplished nothing however produce since 2021. He rushed for 862 yards and picked up one other 145 receiving. Final yr, he was the AAC Offensive Participant of the 12 months (1,581 yards and 19 touchdowns speeding, 22 catches and two touchdowns receiving), the Cotton Bowl MVP (4 speeding touchdowns versus USC) after which he earned Apply Participant of the Week on the Senior Bowl.

He is a keen go protector regardless of a lighter body, and he has ridiculous change of course abilities to go together with positive palms that can make him a third-down contributor early in his professional profession. If the Patriots are on the lookout for a James White successor, nabbing Spears on Day 2 looks like one thing they’d be fascinated with.

Israel Abanikanda, Pitt, 5-foot-10, 216 kilos

Abanikanda will start his professional profession at simply 20 years previous. Nonetheless loads of tread on these tires. Good factor, too. As a result of if he could make a couple of changes to his working type early in his profession — even when it takes a yr or two — he could possibly be a harmful do-it-all risk given his athletic traits.

He blazed a 4.44-second 40 to go together with a 41-inch vertical. These are eyebrow-raising figures for somebody over 215 kilos. He does not all the time play to that dimension and does not do a lot as a runner after contact, however he is a succesful receiver (38 grabs in his profession) and within the open subject his capability to speed up makes him a risk for a giant play. A kick-return choice, Abanikanda might provide the Patriots some worth in that regard early in his profession.

Evan Hull, Northwestern, 5-foot-10, 209 kilos

There wasn’t an FBS again with extra receiving yards than what Hull posted for the Wildcats final season (536 yards). Then take into account the superb mix he put collectively — 4.47-second 40, 37-inch vertical, 10-foot-3 broad, 6.9-second three-cone — and he must be on each crew’s checklist of intriguing pass-catching again choices.

His problem in the meanwhile is in go safety. That will make him a developmental choice and a no-go for the Patriots if they need somebody who can contribute in 2023. However they tend to redshirt their sub backs. Hull could possibly be a great choice for that form of early-career path to the sector.

Fullback

Derek Parish, Houston, 6-feet, 241 kilos

The Patriots have a historical past of turning defensive gamers into fullbacks. James Develin was a defensive lineman at Brown. Jakob Johnson started his profession at Tennessee at linebacker earlier than shifting to tight finish. Might Parish be the following to make the transition? He spent the whole thing of his profession for the Cougars as an edge defender however then went to the East-West Shrine Bowl — the place the Patriots coached the West crew — and performed fullback.

What would possibly make him worthy of a draft choose regardless of his restricted expertise on offense? His athleticism. He ran a 4.58-second 40 at his professional day to go together with a 37-inch vertical. Most spectacular had been his change-of-direction drills. He ran a 4.07-second quick shuttle and a 6.76-second three-cone. These are elite numbers, particularly at his dimension. He has the demeanor for it and the motion abilities. He has the dimensions. Why cannot he be a fullback and core special-teamer on the subsequent stage?

Jack Colletto, Oregon State, 6-foot-3, 237 kilos

Would not you understand it? One other defender-turned-fullback right here. Colletto performed linebacker and functioned as a short-yardage again at Oregon State after initially exhibiting as much as campus as a quarterback switch from Arizona Western. He isn’t the athlete Parish is, however his versatility and willingness to do no matter he can to get on the sector makes him appear to be Belichick’s sort.

Like Parish, Colletto performed on the Shrine Bowl as nicely, which means the Patriots had an opportunity to look at him work up shut. May they need to seize the Paul Hornung Award winner for the second consecutive season? Colletto took dwelling the consideration for 2022 after Marcus Jones received it in 2021.

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