The Patriots have made it very clear that they will not invest huge resources in the running back position, at least not until Tom Brady retires. New England is going to throw more than they run and their backs are going to be used by committee; it's just the way they work. Tom Brady had a good amount of success throwing the ball to his backs last year, specifically Shane Vereen, but Vereen will be catching passes from Eli Manning this fall, so Brady needs to develop a new pass-catching back. The process began last season with the draft-and-stash of James White, and his competition was brought in during free agency- enter Travaris Cadet. The former Saint was not brought back by Sean Payton and the Saints, so the Patriots picked up the promising young back out of Appalachian State.
Cadet, who stands at 6'1, 210 pounds, has appeared in 41 games over his three seasons, but the majority of his production has come in the passing game. Over three seasons, Cadet has just 11 carries for 37 yards, an extremely low total even for a third down back. His receiving numbers- 45 catches, 345 yards, and two touchdowns, well, that is decent production, especially when you consider that 38 catches, 296 yards and one touchdown came all came last season. Third down backs need to be able to block, and one of the reasons Cadet got so many opportunities last year was due to his improvement in the blocking game, which may push him ahead of James White on the depth chart.
Cadet was a three-star player coming out of high school, and he signed with Appalachian State as a dual-threat running back/wide receiver. Cadet was redshirted as a freshman, but the next three years were very productive. Cadet had 336 carries, 1,637 yards, 15 touchdowns, and he averaged 4.9 yards per carry. He made 57 catches for 572 yards and two touchdowns, his best season coming in 2011 when he had 34 catches for 333 yards and one touchdown. Cadet has always been a dual-threat player, and there is nothing Bill Belichick loves more than a flexible player. Cadet has a real chance to make the 53-man roster, but he'll have to beat out James White to do it.
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