In the fourth round, the Pats selected Pierre Strong, a shifty ‘back who may be their eventual replacement for Sweet Feet James White (who’s not going anywhere, and will serve as a veteran mentor to the entire corps this season).
And in the sixth, South Caroline running back Kevin Harris and his massive calves followed, adding a fifth potential high-volume option to the Patriots’ attack.
All told, it seems the Pats are going to have three different potential every-down backs to rely on this season, with White and Strong (and, hell, JJ Taylor) available as scatback options.
One look at both Strong and Harris side-by-side at OTAs shows exactly what the Patriots acquired: one runner who can fit through holes, and another who can bulldoze walls. Though Strong is technically an inch taller (hah!), Harris’ 10 extra pounds work wonders, and seem situated mainly in his lower half.
Patriots RB room stacked with Pierre Strong, Kevin Harris
Destroyer. Of. Worlds.
Add in Tre Nixon’s emergence during OTAs, and it’s no wonder why Mac Jones has looked so relaxed every time the camera’s been on him at camp. Dance, my guy. This running back room and group of wideouts has you covered.
Back at South Carolina, Harris rode his legs to an SEC-leading 113.8 yards per game back in 2020, but took steps back as his career continued. On the bright side, though, the potential is there and the workload lessened over the past campaign, leaving him with just 358 career carries as he enters the pros. Injuries are unpredictable, but if there was a roadmap for this stuff, it’d involve as limited a snap count as possible before the rigors of the NFL begin.
Harris is entering the final year of his rookie deal, so while it’s very unlikely the Patriots cut bait ahead of the campaign and put their full faith in Rhamondre Stevenson and Co., Kevin Harris does have a prime opportunity to seize the day ahead of him. After all, when’s the last time Bill Belichick paid a hefty second contract for a star No. 1 running back?
Keep your “Harris” jerseys, but be prepared to change the number.