Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
1. There will be a new running back on the 53-man roster
Again, this would have been true before Blount’s injury yesterday. But with Blount possibly missing more games, there is no doubt that the Patriots will bring on a new running back to the final roster.
Travaris Cadet, Dion Lewis, James White (he barely played last year, so he counts as a new guy) and Tyler Gaffney have already been in a heated training camp battle for the precious few spots on the 53-man roster and practice squad.
The smart money is on the veteran Cadet to carve out a role for himself because of his threat as a receiver. During his four years in New Orleans, Cadet actually participated in wide receiver meetings, indicating how specialized he is in that part of the offense.
Breathing down Cadet’s neck as Shane Vereen’s replacement is the sophomore White, who has been a stud in Patriots training camp for two years running now. White had some hiccups in yesterday’s practice, which could set him back in the competition. However, the Patriots are very keen on him and it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which he doesn’t at least make the practice squad.
Lewis hasn’t taken a carry in a meaningful NFL game since 2012 when he was a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. However, he has been turning heads at points throughout training camp. It’s true that Lewis may be the most slippery of this group of four running backs, but his diminutive stature at 5-foot-8, 190 pounds means that he’ll have to prove himself on special teams (kick returner?) to make the team.
Bringing up the rear of this battle is Gaffney, who hasn’t practiced since getting clocked by defensive tackle Sealver Siliga in a one-on-one tackling drill on the first day of padded practice. If he can re-conjure his Stanford form, Gaffney stands a chance to make the practice squad, but he’s behind the eight ball as it stands right now.