The New England Patriots traded running back Sony Michel, paving the way for rookie Rhamondre Stevenson to have a much bigger role in 2021.
The New England Patriots now have a full-blown quarterback competition going on, but one area of the team where there is some clarity in the competition department is at running back. The team decided to move on from former first-round pick Sony Michel at the position, trading him to the Los Angeles Rams, paving the way for rookie Rhamondre Stevenson.
Through two preseason games, it’s hard to argue that any rookie running back has been more impressive than the fourth-round pick out of Oklahoma.
Stevenson has looked explosive, elusive, and strong on his runs in preseason action so far, and he’s making his case to be a significant piece of the New England Patriots’ rotation that also still includes Damien Harris and James White.
Stevenson was a fourth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft after playing just two seasons at Oklahoma where he averaged 7.2 yards per carry in 19 games with 13 touchdowns as well as 10.6 yards per reception.
On day three of the NFL Draft, there are fewer more logical dart throws than this kind of player at the running back position, guys with plenty of tread left on the tires who showed the kind of explosiveness and tackle-breaking ability that Stevenson did at Oklahoma.
The New England Patriots are certainly known for being very inconsistent with their rotation at the running back position on an annual basis, especially if you’re a fantasy football player. It’s never easy to know exactly what the Patriots are going to do on a given week, but that certainly bodes well for Stevenson getting at least a few opportunities this season to really be the team’s RB1, even if it doesn’t happen on a weekly basis.
Harris is going to get plenty of work. White is going to get plenty of work. The Patriots also like what they’ve seen this offseason from JJ Taylor, who could also get quite a bit of work.
The idea that Stevenson is simply going to be kept and stashed for the year is just off-base, though. With Mac Jones seemingly running away with the QB1 job in New England at this point, the Patriots will undoubtedly work to establish a strong ground game, and Stevenson has the type of abilities that can wear teams out late in games.
He is undoubtedly in line for a much bigger role this year after the trade of Sony Michel and he’s earned it with his outstanding play in preseason games.