We've been favoring Mike Gillislee (as the main ballcarrier) and James White (as the pass-catching back) in New England's backfield, but this being the Patriots, it's hard to say for sure. There are other capable backs with possibilities for roles.

Gillislee has been out with a hamstring injury, leaving Dion Lewis to start the first exhibition game. Brandon Bolden, who was limited to special teams almost exclusively last season, shared the first-team work; White and Rex Burkhead, perhaps also nursing injuries, didn't play. Lewis and White are listed as the starters on the initial team depth chart.

Lewis was productive with his chances, carrying 7 times for 32 yards and catching 4 balls for 23 more. He's on the small side but arguably the most complete back (maybe along with Burkhead) on the roster, and shouldn't be ignored as a candidate for a leading role. Gillislee would be a two-down pounder, White strictly a passing down back -- never particularly effective as a conventional runner.

Bolden's chances may have been dictated by the other backs' injuries. We're expecting it to be Gillislee-White as the main tandem, but Burkhead and Lewis are also talented, and the Patriots pursued Burkhead aggressively in free agency. He's the next best bet for the inside runner role behind Gillislee, and if that hamstring issue lingers, who knows?

I'm thinking if you draft Gillislee, maybe protect that pick with Burkhead; if you draft White, protect that pick with Lewis. The season is still a month away, so things can change. Main thinking now is to be a little cautious selecting Gillislee. Lots of upside in that Blount role, but not a given he takes it.

--Andy Richardson