After making a pair of defensive picks on Day 2 of the NFL Draft, the Patriots started Day 3 on the offensive side of the ball. With their fourth round selection – 120th overall – the team took running back Rhamondre Stevenson out of Oklahoma.
As a two-year contributor for the Sooners, Stevenson totaled 1,180 yards and 13 touchdowns in 19 games, while averaging 7.2 yards per carry. A bowling ball, downhill runner, he gives the Patriots another early down option in the backfield.
However, unlike most backs his size (6-foot-0, 231 pounds) he can also contribute in the receiving game, and has drawn rave reviews from scouts for his pass blocking ability. At Oklahoma, he totaled 28 catches for 298 yards.
Stevenson only has two years of NCAA experience, and just 165 carries at the Division-I level. His college career began with two years at JUCO Cerritos College in California, before transferring to OU. However, he quickly turned into a key player for the Sooners, wrapping up his career in Norman by winning Cotton Bowl MVP, rushing for 186 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries against the Florida Gators.
Running back was an understated need for the Patriots this offseason. Rex Burkhead is still unsigned, and Sony Michel is entering the final year of his contract. Michel and Damien Harris will probably get the bulk of the carries given the Patriots’ tendency to ‘redshirt’ rookie running backs. However, the timeline sets up for Stevenson to play a bigger role in 2022 if and when the team moves on from Michel. He could also help contribute in the short-term in the passing game, spelling James White.
This is the third time in the last four years the Patriots have added a running back in the draft. The team previously took Harris in the third round in 2019, and Michel in the first round in 2018. Stevenson is also their second Oklahoma pick of the draft, after taking linebacker Ronnie Perkins Friday night. Prior to this draft, Bill Belichick has taken just one Oklahoma player in his tenure with the Patriots – Geneo Grissom in 2015.
The Patriots have four picks remaining in this year’s draft. Their next scheduled selection is at the end of the fifth round, 177th overall.
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Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.