Faulk and all-time best 3rd-down backs

ESPN.com football writer/analyst Ross Tucker, who hosts the "Opening Drive" on Sirius XM NFL Radio, delved into a Patriots-based topic this morning. The question: Who is the best third-down running back of all time?

Tucker pointed to New England's Kevin Faulk, and in a follow-up e-mail to ESPNBoston.com, explained why.

"Kevin's versatility, productivity, consistency and clutch performances make him No. 1," Tucker wrote.

Some of the top candidates discussed:

1. Larry Centers (Cardinals 1990-98; Redskins 1999-2000; Bills 2001-2002; Patriots 2003)

2. Kevin Faulk (Patriots 1999-present)

3. Ronnie Harmon (Bills 1986-89; Chargers 1990-95; Oilers 1996-97; Bears 1997)

4. David Meggett (Giants 1989-94; Patriots 1995-97; Jets 1998)

5. Eric Metcalf (Browns 1989-94; Falcons 1995-96; Chargers 1997; Cardinals 1998; Panthers 1999; Redskins 2001; Packers 2002)

6. Terry Metcalf (Cardinals 1973-77; Redskins 1981)

One part that interested me in the discussion is that four of the players either suited up for the Patriots or coach Bill Belichick (in Cleveland or New England).