Power back would make Pats more imposing

Updated: February 27, 2004, 2:21 PM ET
By By Scouts, Inc. | For ESPN Insider

With free agency beginning March 3 and the draft just around the corner, Scouts, Inc., breaks down the biggest offseason needs for the New England Patriots.

Running back: Though Antowain Smith gave the Patriots what they needed late last season and in the playoffs, his uneven play ultimately led the team to decide not to exercise his contract option. So, along with Kevin Faulk and Mike Cloud, the Patriots' top three running backs now are unrestricted free agents. New England probably would like to bring back Faulk, whose versatility is a big plus, but the team still would need an every-down back who can bring toughness and some pass-catching skill.