As the 2017 NFL Draft draws closer we’ll profile some of the players that may be on the Patriots radar or that we feel would be a great fit.
The Patriots’ offense needs a big bodied running back to replace LeGarrette Blount. Blount is a free agent and is unlikely to return at this point. He was terrific in 2016 rushing for over 1100 yards and a league leading 18 touchdowns but he’s 30 years old now, a time when big backs begin to break down. He slowed considerably down the stretch.
The Patriots have a slew of pass receiving backs, James White, Dion Lewis, Rex Burkhead, and D.J. Foster. While all of them can catch the ball out of the backfield, they are not the big, physical downhill style runners they need to move the chains.
D’Onta Foreman from Texas is just what the doctor ordered. He’s got tremendous size and is deceptively athletic for a big man. He measured 6’0, 233 pounds at the Combine and has a 10 1/8 size hands. He was a consensus All-American and won the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s best back.
He passed up his final year of eligibility and posted excellent numbers for the Longhorns with 323 carries for 2028 yards with a 6.3 yards average per attempt. And 15 touchdowns in 2016. He also caught seven passes out of the backfield for 75 yards.
Foreman has the size and physicality to move the chains and in short yardage had a fantastic conversion rate. Can either hurdle would-be tacklers who go too low or run over safeties when he lowers his head. Has very good yards after contact.
He’ll be limited in third down production initially as he’s not good at all in pass protection and that is something Ivan Fears and the Pats coaches will insist upon him improving.
– Tremendous size, very athletic
– Very good cut-back ability and can change direction easily
– Runs hard, low and gets yards after contact
– Punishing runner when he wants to be
– Put the ball on the ground seven times in 2016 (six fumbles lost)
– Not a breakaway threat and is impatient at times with his reads
– Pass protection needs lots of work
What his Role Will Be:
Williams role will be as the Patriots big, physical, move-the-pile back. He’d take over the Blount role, especially as a red zone, goal line running back that will pound the ball between the tackles.
Will his Role Change from Year 1-2?
Yes, with improved pass protection and ball security, he could see his snaps definitely increase in Year 2.
How Many Downs Can He Play?
What Current Player on the Roster Will He Replace?
LaGarrette Blount, and/or Brandon Bolden.
What is his ST Value?
Foreman is a tough physical runner that has proven that he can shoulder a tremendous workload as a featured back. In the Patriots offense, he won’t be asked to do as much of that, but as a role player with the responsibilities in short-yardage, goal line and as a closer late in games, he’d be terrific.
He has very good lateral movement and can cut into open lanes without any loss of speed. He’s outstanding at running between the tackles and has the size to create his own hole when need be. He makes very good yards after contact (YAC).
For a big man, he has excellent foot quickness. At times, however, he showed a tendency to choose the finesse route rather than bull his way thru the line. He needs lots of work on his pass protection skills where at times he just throws a shoulder up rather than square up on a pass rusher.
Foreman had some issues with fumbling last season and that will also have to be worked on with the coaching staff. But as a punishing runner inside between the tackles, he would be a tremendous fit.
He can come in and contribute in a big way on Day1 as the “big back” with their offense. Foreman is slated to be available in Round 2-3. If he is available when the Patriots are on the clock, then he’d be a great choice to bolster the running game. With the weapons in the passing game, Foreman in the running offense would make this team a very difficult one to stop.
Foreman’s highlight reel tape can be seen here:
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