As the New England Patriots scouts poke and prod some of college football's best at the Senior Bowl, a topic of interest has become running backs. More so, the lack thereof.
It's no secret that the Patriots' running game has been lacking -- BenJarvus Green-Ellis' 1008 yards in 2010 marked the first time New England had a running back gain 1000 yards or more since Corey Dillon accomplished it in 2004. So while Bill Belichick may be looking to add another back (after failing on Laurence Maroney), there may not be much to choose from.
There's Oklahoma's DeMarco Murray, Alabama's Mark Ingram and ... not much else. The Herald's Ian Rapoportexplains what this means for the Pats:
One high-ranking NFL official called the class "weak," opining that only Alabama's Heisman winner Mark Ingram will be selected in the first round. Another believes Virginia Tech's Ryan Williams could be the only other to join him among the top 32 picks.
All of which means the battle to upgrade a Patriots positional group that now includes sturdy BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who gained 1,008 yards, and scatback Danny Woodhead, a surprise star, is not easy.
If the Patriots are looking to use their 17th or 28th overall pick on a game-changer in the backfield, it might be Ingram or bust.