Monday, January 14, 2013

Pats' same-position drafting in '11 good encore to '10


In the 2010 draft, the New England Patriots used two picks in the first four rounds on one position, drafting tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez in rounds two and four, respectively. That seems to have worked out pretty well.

New England took the same approach in 2011, taking running backs Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley in the second and third rounds, respectively. That's starting to look like a pretty good move, too. (photo: jdn, Flickr)

Vereen caught two touchdown passes and rushed for another in the Patriots' Divisional Round playoff win over the Houston Texans Sunday. Meanwhile, Ridley ran for 82 yards and a score.

“We have a lot of faith in those guys and they did a great job," Patriots guard Logan Mankins said after the game, via"Vereen had some nice runs and that awesome catch – that was a heck of a catch. You see Ridley how hard he was running in the fourth quarter trying to move the pile, trying to get first downs, so those guys did a good job.”

Ridley is coming off a stellar season in which he rushed for 1,263 yards and 12 touchdowns. Meanwhile, Vereen was better than serviceable in 2012 in limited time and has proven to be a formidable weapon in the passing game when given the opportunity.

I'm certainly not putting the Ridley-Vereen tandem at the same level as Gronkowski-Hernandez, but it's worth noting the similar approach the Patriots took when attacking a certain position in the draft and how it has materialized.

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