With the 120th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Patriots took their third running back in four years, grabbing Oklahoma’s Rhamondre Stevenson. At 6-foot-0, 231 pounds, he’s physically a departure from the prototypical back the Patriots have been drafting, such as Sony Michel and Damien Harris.
In fact, it’s been a while since the Patriots had a back with that build. The most recent example is 6-foot-0, 247 pound LeGarrette Blount. Given not just his size, but the way Stevenson plays the game, expect to hear that comparison thrown around plenty during his time in New England.
A number of those in the draft scouting community were quick to point out the comparison. “Oklahoma RB Rhamondre Stevenson is a more athletic version of LeGarrette Blount,” John Sarianides of New England Football Journal tweeted. “Big power back who can push the pile but also has the speed to break long runs in the open field.”
As it turns out, Stevenson’s similarities to Blount aren’t a coincidence. “LeGarrette Blount – I loved his game and loved how north-and-south of a runner he was,” Stevenson replied when asked during his introductory conference call how familiar he was with the Patriots’ history of running backs.
It could be a bit before we get to see how accurate the Stevenson/Blount comparisons will ultimately be. The Patriots have a history of not playing rookie running backs, but developing them behind the scenes. For example, Damien Harris only had four touches as a rookie, before becoming a major part of the offense last year. James White had a similar path, with 14 touches his rookie year before catching 40 passes the next season.
If that’s what it takes for Stevenson to find success in the NFL, he’s ready. “I can’t wait to just get to the NFL and just learn how to train myself like a pro, learn the game, learn the install and just learn from the backs that have been in the NFL,” he replied when asked about a potential ‘redshirt year.’ “They know how it goes, they have more games in the NFL than me. So I’m just ready to learn and I know that Coach will put me in the best position to do that and be successful whether it’s sooner or later.”
Keeping that in mind, it could be a bit until we see ‘LeGarrette Blount 2.0′ play a key role in the Patriots’ offense. Blount was a fan favorite and won a pair of rings in New England, so it’s a lofty goal for Stevenson to live up to. But if he reaches that mark, this pick will go down as a definite hit.
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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.