Patriots add Shane Vereen to backfield

April, 29, 2011
4/29/11
8:13
PM ET
The New England Patriots used their second of three second-round picks on California running back Shane Vereen.

Why the Patriots took him: The Patriots wanted to diversify their offense with a running back who can do more than one thing. BenJarvus Green-Ellis was the AFC East's lone 1,000-yard rusher, but he's a one-dimensional power runner. Vereen rushed for 1,167 yards and 13 touchdowns last season. He averaged 25 receptions over his three seasons.

How it affects the roster: Green-Ellis and Woodhead aren't going anywhere. But the rest of the backfield needs to be evaluated. Kevin Faulk is coming off reconstructive knee surgery and will turn 35 in June. Fred Taylor is 35. Sammy Morris is 34. All three are free agents.

Scouts Inc. says: Experienced and natural pass catcher. Is accustomed to working out of the slot and splitting out wide. Runs good routes for a college running back and shows upper echelon hands. Can adjust to poorly thrown ball. Shows understanding for pass pro. Is willing to mix it up and has adequate toughness. Can do a better job with leverage and sustaining but is capable of pass blocking in the NFL.

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