There hasn't been a running back selected in the first round in either of the last two NFL Drafts, but that trend could very well end this year.
A pair of running backs -- Georgia's Todd Gurley and Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon -- are projected by many to be selected on Day 1, and according to multiple sources, Gurley will visit the Patriots next week.
When healthy, Gurley is a prototypical three-down back whose speed and power are well above average. He fights through contact to pick up extra yards, and he has dependable hands as a receiver out of the backfield. He also returned kicks in college, and in over 500 career touches he fumbled just three times.
Gurley tore his ACL in November, which prevented him from testing at the NFL Scouting Combine, but he was back in Indianapolis recently to have his knee re-checked by NFL clubs.
It's possible that Gurley's injury prevents him from being taken in the first 31 selections of this year's draft. His upcoming visit will allow the Patriots -- who pick at No. 32 overall -- to do their due diligence and fill out their scouting report on one of the most intriguing players in this year's class.
For more on Gurley, here's our Road to the Draft profile.
After Patriots fans seeth about the billboard near Gillette Stadium that celebrates the Eagles' Super Bowl victory, they can direct their anger at a certain Philadelphia offensive tackle when the champs visit Foxboro Thursday night.
In fact, noted Pats troller Lane Johnson welcomes it.
The Eagles lineman, who tried to make a name for himself all offseason with his anti-Pats diatribes ("fear-based organization" etc.), was asked after practice if he expects a less-than-pleasant reception Thursday night in New England.
"Oh yeah. I hope so. I hope they raise hell," Johnson said. "They can cuss me, they can say whatever they want. At the end of the day, I'm not blocking them, I'm blocking guys on the edge, so it really doesn't matter what they say. I know that I'm not going to be well-liked, this team is not going to be well-liked going there, so it's going to basically bring out our best."
Then, of course, it was on to more trash-talking the Pats. The starters don't expect to be out there long Thursday, giving Johnson plenty of opportunity to hear from Patriots fans from his spot on the sidelines
"I just felt like we weren't even given a chance going into the game. I felt like we were disrespected, and we were by them," he said. "I made plenty of comments about why I said what I said. It's not like I was coming out of the blue just to talk. It's because I felt like I've been disrespected and the team's been disrespected. It's not like I'm coming out here running my mouth because I want to. No other teams really came out and ran their mouth."
After yet another anti-Pats harangue, Johnson then said he's "over it."
"At the end of the day, man, I'm over it. ... It's a totally different year."