Patriots pick third-down type in RB White

Patriots pick third-down type in RB White
May 10, 2014, 1:45 pm
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FOXBORO -- The Patriots added a talented running back with the skills to be a solid third-down player when they selected James White out of Wisconsin at pick No. 130.

At 5-foot-9 and 204 pounds, White isn't going to be overpowering anyone in the NFL, yet he has the ability to be a reliable runner and a productive player in the passing game.

A savvy pass-blocker with good hands, White will provide the Patriots with Shane Vereen insurance and could be the full-time third-down back if Vereen opts for another team in free agency after this season.

White had an extremely productive senior season at Wisconsin, combining with teammate Melvin Gordon to set the FBS single-season record for rushing yards (3,053). He had 13 rushing scores in 2013 and earned Second Team All-Big Ten honors.

White was Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2010, and in 754 career touches at Wisconsin he fumbled just twice.

One of the knocks on White is that he's unaccustomed to carrying a heavy workload. He took a backseat to Montee Ball for three years at Wisconsin, only becoming a starter in his senior season. But if he's a third-down guy as a pro, White appears to possess the skill set that the Patriots value in that role.