The defending Super Bowl champions are now getting ready for April’s draft. But it’s also interesting to point out that while the New England Patriots have your standard seven picks at their disposal, Bill Belichick and company won’t be participating in the first two rounds…at least for now. Between wheeling and dealing, the Pats will get started in the third round with a pair of selections. Of course, the team has acquired tight end Dwayne Allen (Indianapolis Colts), defensive end Kony Ealy (Carolina Panthers) and wide receiver Brandin Cooks (New Orleans Saints) via the trade route. So what’s the point?

Could the team be looking to add a running back to their team via the draft?

What’s with the committee?

Face it. The New England Patriots like to have a slew of running backs that can do different things. From versatile Danny Woodhead (now with the Baltimore Ravens) and Shane Vereen (now with the New York Giants) to Super Bowl LI hero James White, the more you can do the more valuable you are to quarterback Tom Brady and the club’s offense. The Pats’ backfield includes White, as well as Dion Lewis and 2017 free-agent pickup Rex Burkhead (Cincinnati Bengals) to name a few. As free agency began, both Legarrette Blount and Brandon Bolden were left to hit the market. But while the latter (via Spotrac) recently inked a one-year, $855,000 contract with the club, the former remains unsigned.

Of course, we have seen the veteran running back leave New England for another team in recent years. But he managed to find his way back to Foxborough in time to help the club win two Super Bowl titles over the past three seasons.

Let’s be really Blount

So let’s cut to the chase. What does all of this mean for the 30-year-old Blount, who comes off a monster year with the club?

Combined with much-improved offensive line play, the New England Patriots ranked seventh in the NFL in rushing yards per game in 2016. That was quite the jump from the previous year, when Belichick’s squad finished 30th in the league in the same category. This past season, Blount totaled 299 carries for 1,161 yards on the ground, the latter number ranking eighth in the league.

And his 18 total touchdowns, all via the ground, were second in the league only to Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (20). Still, is the former University of Oregon product in the defending champs’ plans in 2017? That’s an excellent question at the moment and one with no definitive answer.

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