By Tom E. Curran
Heading into the NFL draft, Tom E. Curran plans a series of looks at potential Patriots draftees. Today's player: Mikel Leshoure.
Mikel Leshoure, Illinois
6-0, 227Running Back
The Skinny: The consensus best "big back" in the draft. Ran for 1,695 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2010, averaging 6 yards per carry. A legitimate pounder between the tackles who can handle a heavy workload, he's got good quickness and soft hands. according to Pro Football Weekly's Nolan Nawrocki. He's the second-best running back on Wes Bunting's rankings over at National Football Post. Both analysts see him having feature back potential. He should be on the board well into Round 2.
Gotta Have Him: Leshoure is a bigger back than BenJarvus Green-Ellis who -- although he performed well in 2010 (1,008 yards) -- is going to need some help with carrying the load, especially since Fred Taylor and Sammy Morris are likely going to be let go in free agency. We discussed Alabama's Mark Ingram earlier and pointed out that the running-back position has become somewhat devalued. There may be reticence from a team like the Patriots to spend a first-rounder on Ingram, who will be the first back off the board. But the chance to take the guy who will complement Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead in terms of style in the second or even third round is intriguing. And that's Leshoure.
Don't Need Him: Nawrocki says that Leshoure is inconsistent in "down-to-down compete level." That's a strike against him (it should be pointed out that Bill Belichick has respect for the work done by the folks at Pro Football Weekly). Also, it's pointed out that Leshoure needs to work up a lather to reach maximum effectiveness. There aren't a lot of carries to go around in New England with Green-Ellis, Woodhead and a quarterback who throws 30-odd times a game.
Forecast: Leshoure will certainly be on the board for the Patriots at 28 and 33. He may also be there later in the second round at 60. If DL, OL and pass rusher are addressed by then, why not take a run at a player like Leshoure?
Pats Draftability (1-10): 7
Tom E. Curran can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran
Pro Football Talk reported last week that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is still frustrated that Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia wore a Barstool t-shirt that had shows him wearing a clown nose.
In an interview with the Boston Herald, linebacker Rob Ninkovich said he didn't think there was anything wrong with Patricia's t-shirt choice.
“Everyone has the right to wear whatever shirt they want,” Ninkovich said. "Everyone has to wear a shirt, right? You can’t just wear no shirt. I think someone threw it at (Patricia), and he said, ‘All right, nice shirt, it’s cool, it’s blue, so I’ll put it on.’ I thought it was a funny shirt.
“I don’t think it’s a big deal. . . People want to take it how they want to take it. If you really think about it, everyone has to wear clothes, so you just put a shirt on, and you know, it is what it is. I think it’s a nice shirt. It’s blue. I love blue. My favorite color is blue.”
The shirt may have interfered with Patricia's head coaching candidacy during the 2017 offseason, NFL Media's Jason La Canfora said on 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Toucher And Rich" in February
The Patriots made a move on Thursday that opened up a roster spot exactly one week before the start of training camp practices.
The team announced that it waived offensive lineman Chase Farris. It did so with a "non-football injury" designation. Farris spent most of last season on the Patriots practice squad after catching on with New England's 10-man unit in October. The former Ohio State product was a reserve option on the interior for Bill Belichick and Dante Scarnecchia.
With Farris now out of the mix, the Patriots have 89 players on their roster and can add one more before camp begins.
Interior offensive linemen on the Patriots roster now include David Andrews, Shaq Mason, Joe Thuney, Ted Karras, Jamil Douglas and James Ferentz. A handful of rookies -- including undrafted rookies Cole Croston and Jason King -- could also see work inside.
Rookies will report to camp on July 24, and veterans will do the same by July 26. On July 27, training camp practice will be held for the first time on the fields behind Gillette Stadium. The Patriots will practice for four consecutive days at 9 a.m. to kick off camp. All practices will be free and open to the public.