New England Patriots: 3 NFL draft prospects team should target

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 16: Mason Rudolph /
2 of 4

Royce Freeman RB, Oregon

In a very deep running back class, Royce Freeman is one of its best-kept secrets.

Freeman a four-year starter at Oregon, is a 5″11,238 lb. running-back built like a truck but runs like a gazelle. In his four years as a Duck, Freeman amassed an insane 6,345 yards and reached the end zone 64 times.

With incredible vision, Freeman is notable for turning negative plays into positive ones. Even with a very mediocre offensive line, Freeman still showed that he is a very reliable back.

The patience and pure athletic ability he posses should translate well at the next level. If he can clean up his ball security issues (10 career fumbles) and use his toughness to his advantage at a higher rate, Freeman could be a solid NFL starter.

The last time the Patriots drafted a great running back was in 1995, when they took NFL Hall-of-Famer Curtis Martin out of the University of Pittsburgh. With Tom Brady turning 41 in August, a star running back would make his life easier.

A projected late 3rd or early 4th round selection, the New England Patriots could secure their RB of the future with a mid-round steal.