Patriots Rookie Projections: Stevan Ridley

BATON ROUGE LA - NOVEMBER 20: Stevan Ridley #34 of the Louisiana State University Tigers looks to rush upfield against the Ole Miss Rebels at Tiger Stadium on November 20 2010 in Baton Rouge Louisiana. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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

School: LSU

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

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