Who could emerge as an X-factor in the Patriots offense?
Here’s one vote for Shane Vereen.
During camp, we’ve seen QB Tom Brady utilize Vereen as he would have Kevin Faulk or Danny Woodhead in the past. If he doesn’t see anyone open, he’ll hit Vereen with an outlet pass. Or, he’ll simply swing it to Vereen and let him take off and do his thing.
Vereen, who barely played as a rookie, now appears to be one of Brady’s safety valves during passing situations along with Amendola. But there’s more. Vereen’s versatility allows him to not only line up in the backfield, but also in different wide receiver spots.
“Shane can do whatever the coaches ask him to do. Out of the backfield, or lining up at receiver, he can do it all,” teammate Stevan Ridley said earlier this week. “That’s something he had to do for Cal, and something he’s going to have to do for us.”
Vereen's stock has been on the rise, especially in PPR formats because he is expected to fill Woodhead's third-down role and possibly take over some of the routes run by Aaron Hernandez. For a breakdown of Vereen's prospects in 2013, be sure to read John Paulsen's The Case for Shane Vereen.