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|Taken in the 2nd round of the 2011 draft, Vereen was expected to earn a role in the Patriots backfield committee last season but nagging injuries caused him to miss time in training camp and throughout the season. At seasonís end, he had accumulated just 15 rushes for 57 yards and a score in five games. Fellow rookie Stevan Ridley surpassed him on the depth chart and Vereen enters 2012 competing with Danny Woodhead and Joseph Addai for the role as Ridleyís backup and as a pass receiving threat out of the backfield. Since we can all assume that New England will use each player in a situational role, Vereen will need to clearly beat out Woodhead and Addai to earn 8-10 touches a game and that seems unlikely. Woodhead has been productive in limited opportunities during his two years with the team and will likely approach the six touches per game he had last season. While Vereen is clearly the player to own rather than Woodhead or Addai given his upside, he also clearly ranks behind Ridley. He is a late round pick in redraft formats and has more value as a prospect in dynasty leagues.
| Ridley, Mayo likely out for rest of the season -- Mon Oct 13 4:55 pm --|
Knee injuries to sideline RB, LB
|New England Patriots LB Jerod Mayo was carted off the field with a knee injury in the second quarter of Sunday's 37-22 win against the Buffalo Bills and did not return. Mayo, a captain and signal-caller on defense, was immediately surrounded by teammates after a Boobie Dixon run up the middle on first down, as he wound up on the bottom of the pile.
The Patriots also lost RB Stevan Ridley to a knee injury and G Dan Connolly to a head injury. Mayo and Ridley were scheduled to have MRIs Monday to determine the severity of their injuries. (ESPN Boston)|
FF Today's Take: Both players could be headed to IR shortly. Mayo (knee) is a three-down linebacker who had graded out well against the run and played all but four snaps entering Week 6. Ridley likely has a torn ACL and is in the final year of his contract, likely meaning offseason standout rookie James White could be in line for a bigger role. Brandon Bolden also should figure into the mix along with Shane Vereen, but the former is more of a core special teamer.
|Rookie RB James White impressive in camp -- Mon Jul 28 4:50 pm --|
Fourth-rounder more than just a receiving back
|In the first few days of camp, itís been clear that rookie RB James White has exceptional skills and moves with the confidence of a veteran. The Patriots obviously have been making an effort to see what White can and can not do, giving him an abundance of reps over other rookies as well as veteran Brandon Bolden. While White was once viewed strictly as a pass receiving back in the mold of Shane Vereen (something Patriots RB coach Ivan Fears told me was off base during minicamp), he is quickly becoming one of the campís top phenoms and is the teamís leading rookie. (Boston.com)|
FF Today's Take: As the backup to both Montee Ball and Melvin Gordon at Wisconsin, White didn't generate a lot of hype around draft time despite posting two 1,000-yard rushing seasons. ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss recently predicted White would be on the field for more than 20 percent of the Patriots' offensive snaps this season and it isn't hard to imagine that happening behind fumble-prone Stevan Ridley and injury-prone Vereen.