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Patriots beyond the first round: Running back

A majority of the media coverage entering the NFL draft focuses on the first round, so the "beyond the first round" series is meant to fill out the picture for the New England Patriots, who enter the draft with nine selections, beginning with the final selection of the first round (No. 32).

The "beyond the first round" series continues with running back, attempting to identify good fits for the team:

Second round: Ameer Abdullah (Nebraska) -- Considered one of the best pass-catching running backs in the draft, he had 72 receptions over the past three seasons. The biggest knocks on him are size (5-foot-8 3/4) and ball security (in part because of small hands, 8 5/8), but he is viewed as having off-the-charts intangibles. His testing results are notable, reflecting his athleticism/quickness (6.79 in 3-cone drill), explosion (42.5-inch vertical) and power (24 reps on the bench), and then his production is hard to miss (back to back 1,600-yard seasons, followed by an 1,100-yard season).

Middle rounds: T.J. Yeldon (Alabama) -- The 6-foot-1, 226-pound Yeldon is a bigger power back who shows decisiveness on zone runs. He enters the draft after his junior season and one knock is ball security (10 fumbles), but at the same time, media analysts note he catches the ball better than most prospects his size. That he comes out of a Nick Saban-led program at Alabama, and knowing how much Patriots coach Bill Belichick respects Saban, puts him on our radar.

Middle rounds: Terrence Magee (LSU) -- The 5-foot-8 1/2, 213-pound Magee was a receiver in 2012 before switching back to running back, which reflects how one of his assets is his ability to catch the football. Named a team captain in 2014, he is considered to have solid intangibles and is a willing pass protector. He played as part of a rotation throughout his college career and 40 times in the mid 4.5s to 4.6s were viewed by scouts as a bit slow.

Middle rounds: Malcolm Agnew (Southern Illinois) -- The 5-foot-9, 207-pound Agnew transferred from Oregon State and is the son of former Patriots defensive lineman Ray Agnew. He is viewed by media analysts as a player who does some of his best work after the catch, although one knock on him is availability as he's had some injuries that have sidelined him.

Late rounds: Marcus Murphy (Missouri) -- The 5-foot-8 3/8, 193-pound Murphy is a versatile presence in the passing game (sometimes aligns in the slot) and also could factor into the return game (7 career touchdowns). His 40 time (4.61) was a bit slow but he shows up more with quickness after the catch. Media analysts note that he is the type of player who leads by example.

Late rounds: Akeem Hunt (Purdue) -- A kickoff returner who falls more into the category of pass-catching running back, the 5-foot-9 3/4, 189-pound Hunt seemed to help himself at Purdue's pro day by running the 40-yard dash around 4.4, with some clocking him in the high 4.3s. He enters the draft after his senior season and also has shown the ability carry the load when called upon (e.g. 30 carries, 177 yards vs. Illinois).

Beyond-the-first-round series

Monday: Off-the-line linebacker

Tuesday: Wide receiver

Wednesday: Cornerback