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Stevan Ridley Will See an Increased Role in the Backfield

Stevan Ridley could see an increase in carries. (ZUMAPRESS.com)

Last week in a 31-19 win over the Raiders, Stevan Ridley led the Patriots in rushing with 97 yards, including a 33-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

Ridley carried the ball 10 times for an impressive 9.7 average. He broke a 15-yard run on a his first carry and also had three rushes of at least 20 yards. On the season the Natchez, Miss., native has 148 rushing yards on 18 carries (8.2 average), which puts him third out of the rookie running backs behind Daniel Thomas and Mark Ingram.

Against Oakland, BenJarvus Green-Ellis led the team in carries but Ridley may start to eat into those. With Danny Woodhead kept out of practice again on Wednesday with an ankle injury, Ridley is likely to see his carries increase.

Ridley was drafted in the third round of the 2011 draft out of LSU. He declared for the draft after rushing for 1,147 yards and 15 touchdowns his junior year. While he was drafted after fellow rookie Shane Vereen, he has certainly outshined him as Vereen has yet to see the field.

Following the NFL Draft we took a deeper look at Ridley and what he brings to the Patriots.

Ridley’s role with LSU will help him adjust to being a member of the New England Patriots. At LSU, Ridley got carries from both a pro-style set and shotgun formation, both of which New England runs.

In terms of his attributes on the field, nobody will mistake Ridley for a world beater. He won’t run away from a safety in the NFL, heck probably not even a linebacker, but if you need four yards, he’s your man. Ridley runs exceedingly well between the tackles as he’s a one-cut and go runner.

He is a tough runner to bring down as Ridley possess terrific lower body strength. What he provides in the running game he equally turns out in the receiving game as a blocker. Ridley has the blocking ability of a fullback and very rarely will you see him miss a block.

For the Patriots, look for Ridley to be that bruising type back. He’s a guy, like I’ve said, that can take 15-20 carries a game. He’ll average around four yards-per-carry and be an asset in the redzone.

I know he’s not the flashiest player. But he’s that blue-collar prospect New England always covets.

The Patriots will take on the New York Jets at 4:15 p.m. Sunday.

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