Bounce-back candidate could have biggest offensive impact for Patriots in 2024

Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots
Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

After the absolute failure that was the Patriots' 2023 season, there is a lot of room for improvement collectively, but also individually. The most problematic player from last year's roster is gone, but there are a few remaining who will need to prove their worth ahead of Week 1 in order to make the team.

Then some players will be returning from season-ending injuries whose absences left a significant mark on the team for the remainder of the year.

One of those guys is Rhamondre Stevenson, who suffered a high-ankle sprain late in the season and was eventually placed on injured reserve. Ezekiel Elliott then became the go-to in the backfield, which wasn't bad, but he wasn't as productive as Stevenson.

Although he was able to play in most games last year, PFF has named the running back as the Patriots' bounce-back player for the season ahead. It's an excellent label for Stevenson, and he's expected to get right back on the field and perform the way he has over the last few years.

If he can accomplish that and live up to the hype, he will solidify himself further as an integral part of the Patriots' offense moving forward and potentially earn a contract extension.

Rhamondre Stevenson named the Patriots' bounce-back candidate for 2024 season

There may be a few other players who could fit in this category, but given how impressive Stevenson has been since he was drafted in 2021, it's fair to believe he will have the biggest impact immediately upon his return to the lineup.

He's already made it clear that he's putting in all the work to get back to his productive self and wants to become an even bigger part of the game plan each and every week. That's partly why PFF's Bradley Locker believes he will be leaned on more this upcoming season, especially in an Alex Van Pelt offense.

"Stevenson was elite in his first two years, notching offensive grades of 81.1 or better and forcing 32 or more tackles in both seasons. Yet, his 2023 didn’t follow that pattern, possibly because a high ankle sprain ended his year after just 13 weeks.

Amid a very thin receiver room and a potential rookie starting quarterback, the Patriots should lean on Stevenson much more heavily as he seeks a better year. Plus, new offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt showed a proclivity for running in Clevelan

Stevenson has proven to be a reliable weapon for any quarterback who lines up for the Patriots and has become more of an offensive threat since he was drafted. Implementing the passing game into his repertoire was a game-changer for his career in New England and will continue to serve him and the team well as long as he's suiting up on Sunday.

Watching him get back on the field this fall and how well he works with whichever quarterback is named the starter will be fun.

Hopefully, we'll see him return to the team in 2025 and beyond, as he's become an invaluable part of the offense's success and should be a key player in building a young and productive roster moving forward.

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