It’s been a little while since the Patriots had a back who came in like a wrecking ball.
Though New England’s ground attack has shown up in quick bursts over the past three seasons, most notably in the team’s 2018 Super Bowl run, they’ve noticeably lacked a pure power back to help on third-and-short and goal line situations. In 2020, the team’s big back was essentially Cam Newton.
They hope that 2021 fourth-round pick Rhamondre Stevenson will address that hole in their game.
From 2018-20, the Patriots ranked 28th in the NFL with 2.9 yards per carry on third down and 1-3 yards to go. They ranked 21st in that split in the 2020 season. They’ve often relied on draws and misdirection plays with James White and Red Burkhead to find success on the ground in those situations. Sony Michel and Damien Harris haven’t yet proven to be consistently reliable short-yardage backs. They tried, unsuccessfully, to address the role in 2019 with LSU’s Nick Brossette.
Stevenson has a chance to give them the power element they’ve lacked. And that’s why, despite Belichick’s tendency to redshirt a lot of rookies, Stevenson could carve out a role for himself in year 1.
Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.