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3 Patriots Sleepers: Running Back

With just a few days to go until the start of the 2011 NFL Draft, I thought now would be a good time to look at some of my favorite "sleepers," looking a three per position. Today, we will start with running back:

Bilal Powell, RB, Louisville

HT/WT: 5'11", 207 lbs | 40 Yard: 4.52 | Projection: 6th - 7th

Comments: The Patriots have already held a private workout with Powell, who is a pretty well balanced back who is compact and runs with a lot of power. He has a good ability to read blocks and cut up the field, but he doesn't have elite side-to-side agility, and is not real explosive. There are also some concerns that he's just a one year wonder, as he really exploded onto the scene last season. Nonetheless, he could be a nice pick-up for the Patriots in the middle to later rounds as a back who could be developed and become a part of the Patriots' committee.

Alex Green, RB, Hawaii

HT/WT: 6'0", 225 lbs | 40 Yard: 4.45 | Projection: 4th - 5th

Comments: Although Green's productivity should speak for itself, Green has been overlooked at times in the pre-draft process. Green is a big, powerful back who is never afraid to lower his shoulder and pick up the extra yards. He can be impatient at times heading through the hole, and does not have great awareness as a runner. Still, when combining his athleticism, toughness, size, productivity, blocking, and soft hands, there isn't much of a question that he could be a back that has success in the NFL.

Da'Rel Scott, RB, Maryland

HT/WT: 5'11", 211 lbs | 40 Yard: 4.40 | Projection: 5th - 6th

Comments: Da'Rel Scott was part of a running back rotation at Maryland, and because of that, he has been overlooked at times throughout the pre-draft process. Scott brings excellent explosiveness and side-to-side quickness to the table. His instincts, ability to catch the ball, and knack for finding the right hole have been underrated. He is also willing as a blocker who has good strength. His only downsides are that he may not have the durability to be a featured back and he occasionally bounces to the outside when it isn't necessary. Besides that, Da'Rel Scott is a real sleeper who could be a nice part of a running back rotation. He's one of my favorite sleepers.

Also keep an eye on:

Derrick Locke, Kentucky

Roy Helu, Nebraska

Taiwan Jones, Eastern Washington

***NOTE: Only running backs projected round four and later were included in this article, third round prospects such as Shane Vereen and Kendall Hunter were not.