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Ridley started only nine games in college but was their primary back last season when he gained 1,147 yards with 15 touchdowns on 249 carries, an average of 4.61 yards per run.

“He’s a bigger, physical back,” Belichick said. “Good running style. Gets a lot of tough yards.”

He could run behind Nate Solder, the left tackle from Colorado taken by the Patriots in the first round on Thursday. He figures to be the starting left tackle of the future, which may not be far off with Matt Light’s current free agency.

“It’s a huge responsibility, protecting the quarterback, being able to run the ball,” he said Friday on a visit to Gillette Stadium. “That’s something that I always loved. I always love a challenge.”