FOXBORO -- Running back Roy Finch is a creative runner because he has to be. At 5-foot-6 and 177 pounds, he can't be a put-your-head-down-and-hope-for-the-best kind of back.
That's not to say he can't run with power. He can.
But he seems to be at his best when he uses each of his many attributes in succession, one move coming within a blink of the last. His highlight reel is a blur of jump cuts, spins, explosive bursts through holes in the line of scrimmage and broken tackles.
Some of his runs are impressive scores of well-planned body movements synched-up with an almost panoramic level of vision, but he says there's not a whole lot of thought that goes into them.
"Just score," he said of his mentality in the open field. "Break a long one and just be explosive with the ball in my hands no matter where I’m at."
"I can be spotted pretty much anywhere on the field," said Finch, who played some slot receiver and returned kicks in college. "I’m very explosive. I can catch. I’m just excited to learn and be in whatever position I can be in to help this team win."
As a senior in 2013, he made two starts and appeared in all 13 of his team's games, taking 59 carries for 347 yards. Still, he was more of a backup with home-run potential than a heavily-relied-upon fourth-year player.
"I took it in stride and knew there was a greater purpose, and something greater was going to happen," he said. "I’m here, and I’m working hard."
He ran a 4.44-second 40-yard dash and had the best three-cone drill of any Sooner (7.14 seconds). He also posted a whopping 22 reps on the 225-pound bench press test, which would have been fifth-best at the NFL Combine among running backs.
Might that mean New England is the place where his creativity will be allowed to be put on display with some consistency?
Finch knows he'll have to learn the pro game, and the Patriots' system in particular, before he gets a shot to put his improvisational skill to work.
"I’m excited to learn and get better each day," he said. "Nothing is guaranteed."