Before the draft, we heard that one of the Patriots' targets would be running back, and one daily team observer thought the team would focus on goal-line backs to replace BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
Even after Round One of the draft, reports surfaced in Boston that a running back would be headed to Foxborough in one of the later rounds. Yet, the Pats did not address the position, instead focusing on defense.
The team did, though, use free agency to add a veteran to the unit, signing former Colt Joseph Addai last week. Entering his seventh season, Addai has been injury-plagued, but he can still be an asset as a runner and receiver.
In terms of goal-line play, though, Addai could also factor in. He doesn’t have the size of a prototypical goal-line bruiser, but he has more experience punching it in than the other members in the Patriots’ stable of backs.
Last season, Green-Ellis had 27 rushes inside the opponent’s 10-yard line, accounting for 10 touchdowns. Stevan Ridley, who is expected to be the No. 1 back, had only nine carries in that area of the field, Danny Woodhead had six and Shane Vereen had three. Addai’s role was reduced last season, and he had only six carries inside the 10, but over the past six seasons, Addai is tied for fourth in the league with 212 rushing yards gained inside the 10-yard line, with 30 touchdowns on 106 carries.
Ridley would ideally work as a back to hand the rock to near paydirt, but first he’ll need to alleviate some ball-security concerns from late last season. Addai will likely be a jack-of-all-trades back, using his versatility to help spell the others as a top reserve, but his experience finding the endzone — he has 39 career rushing scores — will also be valuable.
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