The New England Patriots might have retained James White for the 2022 NFL season, but they shouldn’t feel overly confident in giving a 30-year-old running back coming off of a major injury the same workload that he’s been used to in the last few years. Drafting a backup might need to be on Bill Belichick’s pre-draft checklist.
Damien Harris has proven himself as an above-average starter in this league and Rhamondre Stevenson has tons of potential. Still, neither of them has the quick feet and experience that White, a former fourth-round pick, brings to the table as a pass-catcher.
Given the departure of Brandon Bolden and the team openly courting Leonard Fournette, using another pick on a running back might not be the most unrealistic thing in the world. Belichick could look to his old friend in Nick Saban for the answer, but Kirk Ferentz’s Iowa Hawkeyes may have a late-round option that appeals to him.
Tyler Goodson was the leading rusher on an Iowa team that leans almost exclusively on the run to get their offense going. His offensive coordinator was none other than Brain Ferentz, who used to be Belichick’s tight end coach. While he might not be a very highly-touted prospect, there’s a lot to like.
Should the New England Patriots draft Tyler Goodson?
Goodson, who ran for 1,151 yards this season, has the most rushing yards of any Big Ten running back in the last three seasons. Behind fellow NFL prospect Tyler Linderbaum, Goodson showed the short-area quickness needed to become a standout performer in Belichick’s scheme.
Goodson recorded 72 catches over the last three years despite a very rudimentary offense that didn’t take full advantage of his talents. In the White role, Goodson’s shiftiness could be on full display. Iowa’s bland offense did him no favors this season.
Many of the concerns with White as a prospect apply to Goodson. The lack of contact balance and power between the tackles is so alarming that it will make it difficult to get picked before Day 3. Offering very little value as a blocker and possessing slightly above-average speed, Goodson is not much of a home-run threat.
While Belichick has never fallen over himself when it comes to figuring out how to pay running backs top money. Still, if he sees value in a particular back, he won’t hesitate to find a roster spot for them every year. Goodson might not see a ton of rookie snaps, but he might if White ends up leaving New England in the near future.