The New England Patriots are the model of consistency that many NFL franchises strive for, as they are consistent Super Bowl contenders year in and year out, and should be considered the Super Bowl front-runner heading into the 2016 season. However, the Patriots have made some big moves this offseason, reloading their roster both through free agency and through trades, and, despite losing their first-round pick to Deflategate, New England has loaded up on draft ammo with four picks in the top 100.
The Patriots have multiple needs they will try to fill in the upcoming 2016 NFL Draft, with their offensive line likely needing the most help. One position to keep an eye out for is running back, as New England is reportedly expected to target one at some point in the draft.
One potential prospect the Patriots have reportedly "shown plenty of interest" in is California Golden Bears running back Daniel Lasco. The 6-foot, 209-pound player is projected to land in the middle rounds of the draft, and likely could be in play for New England from the third round on.
Lasco was California's team MVP during the 2014 season, as he rushed for 1,115 yards and scored 12 rushing touchdowns. The Patriots love dual threat running backs, which Lasco can provide as he also recorded 33 receptions for 356 yards with two touchdowns that season. New England already met with the California Golden Bears prospect at the 2016 NFL Combine, and have reportedly recently put him through a private workout.
Lasco is a physical back that is not afraid of making contact with defenders, but struggled to stay healthy last season, as hip and ankle injuries allowed him to play in just nine games last season. Despite injury concerns, the California running back impressed teams at the combine with his workout, running a 4.46 40-yard dash and posting strong numbers both in the vertical jump (41.5 inches) and broad jump (135 inches).
The Patriots have a strong history of developing athletes surrounded by questions into legitimate starters in the league, and it wouldn't be surprising if they took a chance on Lasco based on what they believe he can accomplish in their system.
New England already landed free agent Donald Brown this offseason, but look for them to target another running back in the draft, as the Patriots have shown in years past that they have no problem using a stable of running backs to get the job done.