The fourth in a series looking at the Patriots' 2011 NFL Draft picks, and the roles they might play for the Patriots next year.
Name: Stevan Ridley
Position: Running Back
Drafted: 3rd Round, 73rd Overall
Projected Stats: 15 Games Played, 1 Start; 58 carries, 224 yards, 3 TDs; 4 receptions, 21 yards
Projected Role: Stevan Ridley reminds a lot of fans of current Patriots running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and rightly so. Both played in the SEC. Both are bigger and more powerful backs. Both have good vision and do not hesitate. Both can play a little fullback. While Stevan Ridley plays a lot like Green-Ellis, he will not be taking over for him in the present. Next year, I expect Ridley to take on a role that emulates the one that free agent running back Sammy Morris played for the Patriots last season. Morris played some fullback, reserve tailback, and also had a crucial role on special teams. Expect Ridley to do many of the same things, although I think he could be used a little bit more than expected in that tailback role.
Bottom Line: Reserve RB and FB in 2011, possible starter on 1st/2nd down in 2012