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2011 NFL Draft: Patriots Select California RB Shane Vereen at 56th Overall

In another sort of surprise, but not really, the Patriots utilize the 56th overall pick to take California RB Shane Vereen. Vereen stands at 5-10, 210 lbs, with a 4.49s 40 yard dash. He was used as the top reserve behind 2010 first round pick Jahvid Best and he has excelled as a starter. He gained over 1000 yards in his final year as a starter and he has phenomenal hands to catch the ball out of the backfield. Vereen has solid speed and solid burst and should be a great complement to BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead. He fumbled seven times in 556 carries, which means that he must improve his ball security, but if he is more careful with the ball he can emerge as a great player with the Patriots.

When we look at the criteria of successful running backs from the draft, we find out that Vereen does very well- but just barely.

A player must have at least one 1000+ yard season while in college. Yes, his final season.

A player should accomplish the 1000+ yard season at a 5.0+ yards/carry pace. Yes, his final season.

A player should run a sub 4.55s 40 Yard Dash if they're an above average player. Yes.

A player should run a sub 4.5s 40 Yard Dash if they're an elite player. Yes, 4.49s.

A player should jump at least a 9-8 Broad Jump to succeed. No, but he jumped 9-7.

And this sounds about right. Vereen is more "quick" than he is "explosive" and he should be a great change of pace running back. He's an experienced pass blocker and should do well with the Patriots.