Running back & Patriots draft

We continue our position-by-position look at the Patriots as they head into the draft with an examination of the running backs (fullbacks included).

Current personnel: Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Leon Washington, Brandon Bolden, James Develin, Tony Fiammetta

Need level: Low

Overview: It was just two years ago that the Patriots invested a pair of draft picks in Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen. The results have been fruitful, as Ridley was the NFL's seventh-leading rusher in 2012 and Vereen's unique athleticism was on display on several occasions (health has been an issue with him, however). With Danny Woodhead gone, Vereen could be expected to take on a larger role in 2013, while veteran Leon Washington will be counted on to absorb some of Woodhead's snaps as well. Brandon Bolden gives the Patriots depth as a between-the-tackles back, and he was running extremely well prior to a four-game suspension last season. Throw in Jeff Demps and his world-class speed and the Patriots have a unique mix at running back. Develin and Fiammetta are fullback options, though we saw in 2012 that tight end Michael Hoomanawanui was capable of taking on a fullback/H-back role within the offense.

Scouts Inc.'s interior running back prospects of note:

1. Eddie Lacy, Alabama. 5-11, 231 pounds. 2012 stats: 204 attempts, 1,322 yards, 17 touchdowns.

2. Montee Ball, Wisconsin. 5-11, 214 pounds. 2012 stats: 356 attempts, 1,830 yards, 22 touchdowns.

3. Andre Ellington, Clemson. 5-9, 199 pounds. 2012 stats: 212 attempts, 1,081 yards, 8 touchdowns.

4. Le'veon Bell, Michigan State. 6-1, 230 pounds. 2012 stats: 382 attempts, 1,793 yards, 12 touchdowns.

5. Christine Michael, Texas A&M. 5-10, 220 pounds. 2012 stats: 88 attempts, 417 yards, 12 touchdowns.

For additional information on these prospects and more, CLICK HERE to check out Scouts Inc.'s player database (Insider content).