NFL experts, analysts, or media rarely give proper credit to a member of the New England Patriots roster.
But that changed last week when Bucky Brooks of the NFL Network compiled a list of who he proclaimed would be the NFL All-Breakout Team for the 2023 season. He named Rhamondre Stevenson as the lone running back fitting that title.
In just two seasons, Stevenson has become a fixture within the Patriots' offense and made significant strides as a dual threat back last season as his usage in the passing game was increased. His performance bumped Damien Harris from the RB1 position, and he quickly became the go-to guy for Mac Jones out of the backfield.
Stevenson's 2022 season was noteworthy, not just for his elevated usage in the offense but because he eclipsed 1,000 yards on the ground for the first time since LeGarrette Blount in 2016. On top of that, he added 421 yards on 69 receptions and averaged 6.1 yards per catch throughout all 17 games of the season.
Because of his incredible production and growth during his short NFL career so far, Brooks believes this upcoming season will be Stevenson's best one yet, especially now that Harris has left and Bill O'Brien is back coaching the team.
"Stevenson is fresh off his first 1,000-yard season, but the third-year pro should be even better in an offense designed and directed by an experienced offensive coordinator. Bill O'Brien will put the ball in the hands of the rugged runner to set the table for Mac Jones and a complementary play-action passing game. Not to mention, New England's second-leading rusher from 2022, Damien Harris, departed in free agency to Buffalo.
So this is Rhamondre's show. As a three-down playmaker with the size, strength, and skill to shoulder a heavy workload, Stevenson could post big numbers this season."
There is certainly less competition he will need to go through to maintain his RB1 spot with Harris gone, and how O'Brien plans to use Ty Montgomery and James Robinson is yet to be seen. Plus, two second-year backs will likely have some impact on the team in Pierre Strong Jr. and Kevin Harris, both of which have also been touted for their potential.
However, Stevenson's role is pretty much etched in stone now, and the expectations for his third season are sky-high.
The added help to the running back roster will benefit the team and Stevenson, who seemed overworked last season, playing in 66% of offensive snaps on the year. Imagine what he could accomplish if he can still be prioritized on game day but get a bit more time on the sideline to keep him healthy.
The Patriots will definitely need it, as they hope to compete in an increasingly competitive AFC East.