Texas A&M Aggies running back Ben Malena is one of the better late-round running backs in this year’s draft class, and last week I highlighted him as a potential “flier” option for the New England Patriots (Missouri’s Henry Josey was my top guy to watch for). Although the Patriots have Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, and 2012 UDFA Brandon Bolden, they will most likely lose LeGarrette Blount this offseason and should look to add another back to their stable by using a late-round pick. Adding a guy like Malena would make sense, and it looks like the Patriots are indeed interested.
Draft insider Tony Pauline reports that the Patriots are “very high” on Malena, and they even took him out to dinner on Tuesday evening. Pauline adds that the RB “looked terrific” at his pro day, and he wrote that Malena ran in the high 4.4s (earlier reports tabbed him in the mid 4.5s).
Malena is nothing more than a third day pick, but he looks like a solid third day pick due to his vision, solid blend of power and quickness, stocky build, low center of gravity, and receiving ability. Patriots fans should keep a close eye on him, as he could be a solid change-of-pace option at the bottom of the depth chart.