15 most important Patriots for 2019: No. 6, James White

With the Patriots off until training camp, we’re having a series featuring the 15 most important Patriots players for the upcoming season. The countdown will continue for the next several weeks.

No. 6: James White

Position: Running back

2018 stats: 94 carries, 425 yards, 5 touchdowns; 87 receptions, 751 yards, 7 touchdowns

Why he’s No. 6: Last year showed just how important White is to the overall success of the Patriots offense. Up until last year, he was viewed as primarily just a receiving back, but due to a number of injuries to the running back position he was able to showcase talent with the ball in between the tackles. While he will never be an every-down back, it now isn't always a guaranteed passing play whenever he is in the backfield. He's also one of the pass catchers Tom Brady trusts the most and is willing to go to him in the biggest of situations.

The backfield has a good amount of depth, but also several players with injury concerns like Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead. White is one of the most dependable backs in the entire league and his ability to play in almost every game is one of his best attributes. If White were to ever miss extensive time due to injury, the Patriots' production on third down would certainly go down as no one would be able to replicate what he's able to do out of the backfield. White is one of Brady's go-to guys and that isn't exactly easy to become.

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