New England Patriots' Shane Vereen To Have Bigger Role?

By Ben Sullivan
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

When the New England Patriots took Shane Vereen in the second round of the 2011 draft, they had big things in mind for the versatile back from the University of California.

However, his first two years in the league haven’t been what the team had hoped for.

Sidelined by injuries early in his career, he found it hard to get off the bench and onto the field. That should change this year. This year, Vereen will get the chance to show what he can do and when he’s had chances in the past, he’s made the most of them.

A shifty runner and impressive pass receiver, Vereen has averaged 4.0 yards per carry in the NFL and caught five passes for two touchdowns in an impressive performance against the Houston Texans in the playoffs last year.

That ability to make a difference in the passing game will get him on the field more this year than in the last two combined. While Stevan Ridley had a breakout year of his own last year and comes into camp as the clear-cut no. 1 back, last year’s third-down back Danny Woodhead will be wearing a San Diego Chargers uniform this year.

Vereen is the most likely candidate to take over for Woodhead, who had 76 carries and 55 targets in the passing game last year. Those opportunities will go to Vereen this year, and he has what it takes to make the most of them. The first two years in the NFL are learning years for most players, but the third year is usually the year that the light turns on.

Vereen’s third year should be the year that he has a bigger role in the Patriots’ offense.

Ben Sullivan is an NFL writer for Follow him on Twitter @bensullivan52, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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