FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Running back LeGarrette Blount's re-signing with the New England Patriots shouldn't affect the team's plans in the NFL draft, as running back remains a top need, but Blount provides a level of insurance and flexibility if things don't unfold as desired on draft day.
Blount, 29, has proven to be a solid on-field fit for the Patriots in his two stints with the team, bringing a much-needed power element to the offense. When he gets a head of steam and reaches the second level of the defense, he can be one of the toughest runners to tackle in the NFL. But getting to that second level of the defense on a consistent basis is sometimes a challenge for Blount.
A big part of the Patriots' approach in building a roster at the 90-player limit is to have all positions accounted for before the draft, with the idea that if there was a game today, the team could field a competitive team. Along those lines, the Patriots don't want to be locked into a specific position during the draft where they might force a pick based on need.
In the perfect world for the team, a high-upside running back will be available with one of the early selections -- No. 60 and No. 61 overall (in the second round) or No. 91 of 96 (in the third round). That topic was explored earlier Tuesday.
But the Patriots have to be prepared for all contingencies and bringing back Blount helps should things not shake out the way the club hopes on draft day.