Mock thoughts: RB in first round

Russ Lande of the Sporting News unveils the second version of his mock draft and he envisions a scenario in which the Patriots are using the No. 28 pick on running back Mikel Leshoure (Illinois).

"Leshoure is a big, strong back with big-play ability. He also shows good hands and is an excellent pass blocker, an ideal fit for the Patriots," writes Lande, who slots defensive end Cameron Jordan (Cal) to the Patriots at No. 17.

Lande also had the Patriots selecting Leshoure in his first mock draft.

ANALYSIS: If the Patriots go this route, it would give them a running back depth chart that leads off with BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead and Leshoure. Pretty strong. But given the history of finding running backs found later in the draft, or even in free agency, the question is whether there is value in selecting the position this early in the draft. An added twist: The Patriots might be reluctant to go there after their experience with Laurence Maroney (first round, 2006). The feeling here is that given the team's other picks, where talent can be added at other positions, an early-round running back could be on the radar if the Patriots feel that player can be a difference-maker. That puts Alabama's Mark Ingram in play as well.