A player like Ryan Mathews could push the process along. The Fresno State product has risen to the point where he’s widely considered the second-best back in a so-so class of runners, behind Clemson dynamo C.J. Spiller, and perhaps the one most capable of being a true bell cow.
In December, the Patriots seemed to try to remake themselves with a run-heavy emphasis, going with heavier personnel groupings (after struggles to find the right mix at receiver made it hard to continue as a largely-spread offense). The trouble, at the time, was that the team couldn’t settle on a rotation in the backfield.
Could Mathews solve that? Former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah, who runs the outstanding Move the Sticks blog, has the Patriots plucking Mathews at 22 in his latest mock draft. What’s interesting about that is Jeremiah has New England doing it with Sergio Kindle and Jerry Hughes still on the board.
You guys think tailback is that much of a priority? I’d say it is only if the Patriots think a player like Mathews can change the face of their offense. He’s obviously got the Pat Hill pedigree (didn’t hurt Logan Mankins or James Sanders), and he’s had an outstanding offseason (he ran 4.48 at 218 pounds at the combine). Whether he’s good enough to pass on more pressing needs remains to be seen.
Want more from Jeremiah on the Patriots? Here you go.