The New England Patriots feel confident enough in Rhamondre Stevenson to hand him the keys as the starting running back as he enters his third season with the Pats.
Stevenson proved to be the workhorse the Patriots expected him to be when they drafted him in the fourth round in 2021. He’s since carried the ball 343 times for 1,646 yards and ten touchdowns in his two NFL seasons.
The production out of Stevenson last year showed Bill Belichick that he could part ways with Damien Harris, who signed a one-year deal with the Buffalo Bills as a free agent.
Stevenson outperformed Harris over the last two years he’s been in the league. He carried the ball 35 more times and rushed for 255 more yards than Harris in that time, who never hit 1,000 during his four seasons in New England.
Not to mention he led the team with 69 receptions in a dysfunctional offense last season. He became the first player since LaGarrette Blount in 2016 to rush for 1,000 yards in a season for the Patriots. Stevenson is the real deal, and Belichick knows it.
Stevenson’s two-year trend would suggest he’s in line for another 1,000-yard rushing season in a new properly run offense by the return of offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien. O’Brien will open up the passing attack, which in turn, opens up the run game.
The multidimensional third-year back should see a hefty workload in the passing game with the way he produced last year. His 69 receptions in 2022 is the fourth-most by a running back in a single season in franchise history, joining James White and Tony Collins.
What’s great about Stevenson being the workhorse that he is in both phases of the offense makes him unpredictable to opposing defenses, as he can run and catch passes out of the backfield, an element we can almost guarantee O’Brien will use to his advantage.
Using last year as the model and considering the Patriots upgraded their offensive coordinator and surrounding talent, Stevenson is in line for another big season. The expectation should be 1,500 all-purpose yards, and I don’t think that’s too wild of a prediction after what we witnessed last year.
Stevenson will lead the Patriots backfield in front of newly acquired James Robinson and second-year man Pierre Strong Jr. this season. It also wouldn’t be surprising if the Patriots draft a running back in this year’s upcoming draft in a few weeks.