The Patriots are hosting Illinois running back Mikel Leshoure on a pre-draft visit at Gillette Stadium, a source confirmed.
NFL teams are allowed up to 30 visits with out-of-town prospects before the draft. While a visit doesn't necessarily indicate genuine interest, it is most likely a sign that the Patriots are still seeking more information before placing a final grade on Leshoure.
Leshoure projects as a second-round pick, according to analysts. At 5-foot-11 and 228 pounds, he is one of the bigger backs in the draft and enters the NFL after his junior season (more from the Detroit Lions' website after his visit there).
The Patriots currently have three running backs under contract -- BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead and Thomas Clayton. Eric Kettani is eligible to come off the reserve/military list next month and he could factor into the mix as a fullback.
With the likelihood that the Patriots will keep at least four backs on their final roster, this looks like an area the team could target in the draft, so Leshoure is a prospect to keep on the radar.
Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald first reported Leshoure's visit.