Originally Posted by patsfaninpa
Compare our backs to Pittsburgh. Bettis,Parker,Staley
to Dillon,Faulk and Pass. Only difference was healthy ol. Anyway,
I don't see White falling to 21. I think upgrading speed on defense
will be our biggest need along with replacing Givens(If he leaves).
Our backs do not compare well to Pittsburgh’s. Parker is a young speed back that has several 1,200-yard seasons ahead of him. The Patriots don’t have that.
If Dillon is even 80% of what he was two years ago that would make him a 1,280 yards 9-10 TD RB. That would be more than enough to help the offense return to form. Do we think he can return to that form? Is he more Curtis Martin or more Eddie George. I know he will be back because of his cap number and I hope he returns to form but even if he is back it is probably for only one more year. Even if he does run for 1,200 plus next year he will be 32 years old and have logged a ton of carries. Faulk and Pass are what they are but they will never be a 20 carry a game / 16 games a year back. The Patriots need to find that back and find him soon. They have two options:
1) Get a veteran – either through free agency of via trade
The Free Agent route will be somewhat tough because all the good back – Alexander, James – will want big money. Here is a partial list of who is available:
RB Shaun Alexander – would take a ton of $$$ but is one of the best
RB Edgerrin James – same as Alexander
RB Jamal Lewis – former 2,000 yard rusher who was in jail on drug charges
RB Ahman Green – once great that has seems to have lost a step.
RB Chester Taylor – up and comer that Baltimore will try and keep
RB DeShaun Foster – bigger stronger Faulk (gets hurt and fumbles)
RB Michael Bennett – too small and too frail
Possible Salary cap casualties and or trade possibilities:
RB Kevan Barlow – talented – former 1,000+ runner - but a head case
RB Ricky Williams – talented – former 1,800+ runner - but a head case with potential drug suspension hanging over his head.
RB Fred Taylor – talented but injury prone
I guy that I would like to see that Pats bring in if he is released is Arizona RB Marcel Shipp. He had a brutal year in Arizona but I think that was more a reflection of the team than the player. While he will never break a long run he is a tough power back that will move the chains if given a little crease. I think he could be a 1,300 yard back on the Pats (if he got 320-340 carries).
As for the draft, there are a number of talented RBs – Bush, Maroney, White, Williams and Calhoun – but very few “big” backs. There are more “Gale Sayers” types than there are “Earl Campbells” and I think the Pats would prefer an Earl Campbell.
Here is one sites – GBNreport.com – list of top backs: (* = underclassmen)
*Reggie Bush 5-11, 200 Southern California
DeAngelo Williams 5-8, 208 Memphis
*LenDale White 6-1, 235 Southern California
*Laurence Maroney 5-11, 205 Minnesota
*Brian Calhoun 5-10, 195 Wisconsin
Joseph Addai 5-11, 208 LSU
Jerome Harrison 5-9, 196 Washington State
*Maurice Drew 5-8, 205 UCLA
Andre Hall 5-8, 205 South Florida
Jerious Norwood 5-11, 205 Mississippi State
Leon Washington 5-8, 210 Florida State
DonTrell Moore 5-10, 210 New Mexico
Taurean Henderson 5-9, 205 Texas Tech
Mike Bell 6-0, 218 Arizona
Gerald Riggs 6-0, 215 Tennessee
P.J. Daniels 5-10, 210 Georgia Tech
Terrance Whitehead 5-10, 225 Oregon
Cedric Humes 5-11, 235 Virginia Tech
Except for White all the top backs are under 210. While no one that is 5-8ish 200 lbs can be considered “small” the feature back for the Pats in the BB era have been 220 lbs plow horses.
So the Pats can either change their philosophy a little and go smaller or take a chance on a Riggs, Bell or Humes in the middle/later rounds.