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Jul 28, 2014

Patriots Rumors: James White gets most touches at camp

By on 2:03 PM

The New England Patriots have had a slew of viable starting running backs for the past few seasons. In fact, the team had so many runners this off-season that they opted to release their goal-line specialist, LeGarrette Blount, to Free Agency (he was ultimately signed by the Steelers). With Shane Vereen, Stevan Ridley, and Brandon Bolden all still in the mix, it was surprising that the team opted to draft running back James White in the fourth round. Even more surprising is that, according to, White received the most touches of any running back at practice this Sunday.

Despite the Patriots' incredibly deep running back talent, it would seem that coach Bill Belichick has been unhappy with his options. The elusive pass-catching back, Shane Vereen, has had trouble staying healthy. Ridley, on the other hand, has had fumbling issues that have earned him a permanent position on Belichick's hot seat. These problems by both lead backs have likely paved the way for rookie James White, who has a skill set very similar to Ridley - minus the fumbling.

In fact, White is the poster child of ball security; in College, he allowed only two fumbles out of his 754 total touches. The rest of his stats are equally impressive as he ran for 4,015 yards in his four years with Wisconsin while averaging 6.2 YPC. Though College running talent rarely translates to success for rookie NFL running backs, Zuri Berry of noted that White has already shown "exceptional skills and moves with the confidence of a Veteran." Berry also went as far as saying that White moved very similarly to Ridley and hit the line with the same speed.

As always, Patriots fans and fantasy football enthusiasts should temper expectations as rookies rarely live up to their hype. As of now, the starting job still belongs to both Ridley and Vereen. However, should the two starters experience the same issues that have plagued them in recent seasons, it isn't crazy to imagine White pushing his way onto the field.

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