Who is ready to carry the rushing load for the Patriots? That is a question the defending AFC champions are not ready to answer.
Consider New England's ground attack a journey into the unknown. Its running back roster reads like a waiver wire scrap heap in fantasy football: Joseph Addai, Danny Woodhead, Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen. These four combine for nine career starts in New England. Addai, a free-agent signing, has 60 starts, but all were with the Indianapolis Colts.
None of them stand out on their own. However, the Patriots are hoping for strength by committee.
The conventional wisdom was that Ridley had the inside track, but Vereen has also been taking snaps with the first team and was drafted ahead of Ridley last summer, so there's a decent chance that the duo split carries. We've been slowly moving Ridley down in our rankings, so the better value at this point may be Vereen, who has been going in the 12th round this summer. However, if Ridley earns all (or most) of the goal line carries, he could hold BenJarvus Green-Ellis type value in 2012.