New England Patriots: Five NFL Draft Needs

Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports /
2 of 6

Position: Running Back

New England Patriots
Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports /

Expected Round to Target Position: Second/Third Round

Top Prospects Likely on the Draft Board at that Pick: Kenneth Dixon (Louisiana Tech), Devontae Booker (Utah), C.J. Prosise (Notre Dame), Jordan Howard (Indiana)

Potential Contributors Currently at Position: LeGarrette Blount, Donald Brown, James White, Dion Lewis

Team Needs Overview: While finding Dion Lewis was a surprise last year, his availability at the beginning of the season needs to be monitored as he comes back from ACL surgery. The team will have to take it slow throughout training camp to get him back to his explosiveness pre-surgery and allow him to be an impact player on offense. James White did well in relief of Lewis, but the offense was at its peak with Lewis in the backfield.

The re-signing of LeGarrette Blount and signing of former Colts and Chargers running back Donald Brown gives the Patriots veteran depth at the position, but a young buck who can run between the tackles and contribute in the passing game would be a huge boost to the offense. Ezekiel Elliott and Derrick Henry will be long gone by the time New England is on the board, but there is a deep group of running backs available in the middle rounds of the draft.

Dixon is a small school back who can catch the ball and rumble between the guards if necessary. His injury concerns and fumbling issues may scare off New England. Booker is another versatile back who comes with injury concerns and he will be 24 years old when training camp begins. All of these backs will have some flaw (which is why they are available), but one should be seen as a fixable fit for the Patriots backfield.

Next: Defensive Tackle