The Patriots had a void in the backfield and have finally made a move to sign a running back.
Donald Brown — who was drafted in the 2009 draft No. 27 overall by the Indianapolis Colts — has reportedly signed on with the Patriots.
Brown was named Big East Player of the Year and was an All-American his senior season at the University of Connecticut. Coming out of the draft, he was considered to be one of the top running backs in his class. Brown was the first UConn player in the program’s history to be picked in the first round.
Brown has gone on to play seven seasons in the NFL. His first five seasons were spent with the Colts, and his past two with the Chargers. Brown is 28-years-old and has not yet lived up to his draft day expectations in his NFL career.
Covered Donald Brown in college. Very Patriots-esque player. Smart guy, carried himself like a pro when he was 21 years old.
— Kevin Duffy (@KevinRDuffy) March 16, 2016
Before draft day, scouts touted Brown’s ability to see the field, find holes with solid balance, and take his speed to a second level. Some of the negative scouting reports cited a lack of elite speed and blocking prowess.
Since he has come into the league, Brown has struggled to translate his college success to the pro game. He is a versatile, elusive back when he is playing well but Brown has struggled to produce even three yards a carry in recent seasons.
Bill Belichick certainly appears to be reaching with this move. However, Brown’s signing will likely be for cheap money, and will provide depth and options in the Patriots backfield.
If this is the only running back the Patriots sign this offseason, it would be disappointing, but the position simply isn’t as important as it was a decade ago. When training camp rolls around, the Patriots will see just exactly what Brown can do for them.
In his seven seasons in the NFL, Brown never managed to average over 50 yards a game, and has only scored a total of 18 touchdowns in his career.
He’s not exactly the big name premier back that many Patriots fans expected.