FOXBOROUGH — The New England Patriots have filled the void left by the departure of LeGarrette Blount at running back.
With the 130th pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the Patriots selected Wisconsin running back James White. The 5’9″, 204-pound running back had 643 career carries at Wisconsin for 4,015 yards and 45 touchdowns, with a career-high 221 carries for 1,444 yards as a senior.
Despite those gaudy numbers, White spent most of his career at Wisconsin as a backup to 2013 second-round pick Montee Ball. As a senior, he paired with Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon to set the FBS single-season record with 3,052 rushing yards as a team.
White ran a 4.57-second 40-yard dash and notched 23 reps on the 225-pound bench press at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine.
According to NFL.com’s Nolan Nawrocki, White is a “controlled mover with a low center of gravity. Good vision, balance and short-area burst. Shifty runner — cuts efficiently and jukes tacklers. Shows competitive speed. Finishes runs. Willing blocker in pass protection. Takes care of the football — fumbled just twice in 754 career touches. Has kickoff-return experience. Tough and competitive. Good football aptitude. Highly respected by teammates and coaches.”
White is not without his weaknesses, though, and Nawrocki points out that he “played in an offense that helped inflate his production. Undersized with exceptionally short arms and small hands. Run strength is just adequate. Limited power to move the pile or bust through tackles. Lacks bulk strength to stymie blitzers.” Nawrocki also notes that White has no experience as the bell cow.