Sizing up rookie RB James White

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- One of the things the New England Patriots have proved over the years is that smaller players can measure up in a big way. Receiver Wes Welker and running backs Kevin Faulk and Danny Woodhead are a few who immediately come to mind.

With that, we introduce you to fourth-round draft choice James White, the 5-foot-9½, 204-pound running back from Wisconsin.

“As most small guys, you use it as a chip on your shoulder,” White said Tuesday during a break in the team’s ongoing offseason work. “You let it push you every single day.”

White arrived in town a couple of days ago; he was delayed because his class at Wisconsin didn't graduate until Saturday. NFL rules prohibit recently drafted players from joining their NFL teams until their class has graduated, and now that White is here, Tuesday marked his first on-site appearance with the local media.

One topic that came up was the responsibility he feels to carry on a tradition of successful Wisconsin running backs.

“A lot of great running backs went through the Wisconsin system, and it’s an honor to be in the same sentence as guys like Ron Dayne,” White said before rattling off other Badgers backs such as Anthony Davis, Michael Bennett, Montee Ball and Brian Calhoun. “They’re just guys that work hard and will do anything to help the team win. You’re going to get their best effort every day.”

A few other sound bites from White:

Delay not a major factor. White said the delay in joining the Patriots wasn’t too bad and he’s since been buried in his playbook.

Pass protection considered a strength. White was asked about his reputation of being strong in pass protection, and he explained that he was Wisconsin’s primary running back to fill that role. “Attack the defender, move your feet and use your hands,” White said when asked the keys for any running back in pass protection.

Return visit to Gillette. White took a pre-draft visit to the facility, so this is his second time at Gillette Stadium. “I took a visit here, got to meet the coaching staff, kind of learned about their place compared to Wisconsin. So I had a great visit getting to know the coaches," he said. "It’s a great place and I know it’s going to be a great atmosphere on game day. I’m just going to come out here, compete, work hard and hopefully make the team.”

Ball security in focus. White was asked about his ball security, which is considered a strength. He summed it up this way: “Ball security is job security.”