Keep an eye on LaMichael James.
The little-used 49ers running back is reportedly on the block in San Francisco and if the Patriots sense a buy-low opportunity at running back a move for James wouldn’t be a shock.
The Patriots will be in the running back business at the draft. Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley are entering the final years of their contracts and LeGarrette Blount blew town for Pittsburgh.
Last season, the Patriots swung a deal for Blount when it was clear he’d outlived his usefulness with the Bucs.
The 24-year-old James is 5-9, 195. The Niners used the 61st pick on James in 2012 after he ran for more than 5,000 yards at Oregon for Chip Kelly.
James succeeded Blount as the lead back at Oregon in 2009. He pleaded guilty to physical harassment of a former girlfriend in 2010 and was sentenced to 10 days in jail. He was allowed to serve that time under “electronic surveillance”
In two seasons with the Niners he’s had 39 carries. And he’s had four fumbles. He does have potential to be an explosive kick and punt returner.
If the Patriots are enamored, it would be hard to see them parting with anything higher than a fifth-round pick for James. If that.
Still, if New England isn’t able to secure the services of a back they’re high on in the draft, they could look at the Niners’ scrap heap for help.