Foxborough -- The New England Patriots used their first-round pick to select Minnesota running back Laurence Maroney. Maroney, who had a pre-draft visit with the Patriots, fills the team's need to establish some youth behind veteran Corey Dillon.
The 5-foot-11, 217-pound back will add much needed depth at a position that saw all three starters sidelined with injury during the 2005 season. Dillon, Kevin Faulk and Patrick Pass were the only three running backs on the roster when injuries beset both Dillon and Faulk.
Tim Yotter of GoldenSports.net describes Maroney as "a pretty solid all-around back."
"Not great speed, but a decent combination of strong inside running and good cutback ability," Yotter said via email. "I see him as a great fit in New England as a replacement for Dillon, maybe even later this year if Dillon gets worn down or injured."
A big back, Maroney fits the team's mold of an elusive runner with enough size to be an every down back. Dillon, who turns 31 in October, has been hampered by leg injuries. Kevin Faulk who turns 30 in June was also sidelined by injuries.
Maroney gives the Patriots the future starting back they were looking for, and should alleviate some of the pounding Dillon has taken the last two seasons.
RB, Laurence Maroney
Full Name: Laurence Maroney School: Minnesota Pos: RB
Ht: 6-0 Wt: 217 40: 4.85 Year: 3Jr
Bio: Started the past three seasons in a rotational system at Minnesota. Awarded All-Conference honors since his freshman campaign. Junior totals included 281/1,464/10 on the ground with 17/170/1 as a pass-catcher. Ground totals the prior year included 217/1,348/12.
Finished 2005 by rushing for a school record 1,464 yards despite splitting time with Gary Russell in the backfield... Named third-team All-American... Helped Minnesota become the first team in NCAA history with two running backs gaining over 1,000 backs for three consecutive years (with Marion Barber and Gary Russell)... Finished college career with 660 carries for 3,933 yards rushing and 32 touchdowns... Elected to leave Minnesota after his junior year to enter the NFL.
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