With some down time before training camp, we’re inspecting the Patriots roster position by position. Today, an examination of the running backs.
Sony Michel, James White, Rex Burkhead, James Develin (fullback)
Brandon Bolden, Damien Harris (rookie)
Nick Brossette (rookie), Jakob Johnson (fullback)
New England’s traditional committee-style backfield is perhaps the deepest it’s been in years. Despite injures scares throughout his rookie season, Michel was a few blades of grass shy of 1,000 yards and became a vital part of the offense, particularly down the stretch and in the playoffs. White and Burkhead continue to prove to be versatile, reliable complements, while Develin had maybe the best season of his career a year ago and should have been voted to his second straight Pro Bowl.
Bolden returns after a sabbatical season with the Dolphins, but is more of a special teams factor. Draft choice Harris needs to prove himself, but enters camp as one of the more intriguing prospects to come through Foxborough at this position in a while.
Brossette has a big body (6-0, 220), which could benefit him when he gets his opportunities. While it’s unlikely that Johnson, an international player exemption this season, is going to unseat Develin, he’ll probably stick around as a member of the practice squad.