Shane Vareen is not a bad player. As Pats Pulpit points out, he fulfills many of the criteria of a solid running back selection:
When we look at the criteria of successful running backs from the draft, we find out that Vereen does very well- but just barely.
A player must have at least one 1000+ yard season while in college. Yes, his final season.
A player should accomplish the 1000+ yard season at a 5.0+ yards/carry pace. Yes, his final season.
A player should run a sub 4.55s 40 Yard Dash if they're an above average player. Yes.
A player should run a sub 4.5s 40 Yard Dash if they're an elite player. Yes, 4.49s.
A player should jump at least a 9-8 Broad Jump to succeed. No, but he jumped 9-7.
So that's nice. Vereen has a good shot at being a quality NFL running back.
Why did the Patriots need that again?
The idea that the Pats would go looking for an RB has been floating around for a while now, with many linking them to Mark Ingram. But why? The Patriots were a top-10 team in rushing yards last year, and according to some evaluations, BenJarvus Green-Ellis was one of the top running backs in the entire league, with change-of-pace back Danny Woodhead being tops amongst backs with fewer than 100 rushes.
Vereen makes sense for a team that needed a running back, but using a second round pick on a position where the Patriots already have a dynamic 1-2 punch makes no sense with the glaring need at pass rush.