The Patriots used the 56th pick in last year’s draft on Cal running back Shane Vereen, but he didn’t see the field much in his first year. Fellow rookie Stevan Ridley was utilized more, while Vereen battled a severe and lingering hamstring injury. Vereen didn’t play a single snap in any of the Patriots’ final five regular season games, and he was inactive for all three playoff contests.
But the Pats still have high hopes for the 2011 second-rounder. And according to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, Vereen worked as the team’s first-string tailback during recent OTA practices open to the media.
Howe still expects the Patriots’ 2012 backfield to be role- and game-plan specific, and Ridley, Danny Woodhead, and Joseph Addai remain in the mix for snaps.
Vereen’s action with the first-team offense is a reminder that the Pats could be getting more explosive at running back, though. Vereen ran a 4.49 forty time at the 2011 Combine and averaged over five yards a carry in his college career. He also excelled in the passing game at Cal.