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Why Pats caught Stevenson off guard by drafting Oklahoma RB

/ by Darren Hartwell
Presented By John's Sewer
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Many NFL Draft prospects know which team they're going to well before the pick becomes official.

Apparently that wasn't the case with Rhamondre Stevenson and the New England Patriots.

The Patriots selected the Oklahoma running back in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft on Saturday with the No. 120 overall pick -- and Stevenson never saw it coming.

"It was totally a surprise to me, actually," Stevenson told reporters in his introductory conference call.

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The 21-year-old met virtually with New England during the pre-draft process, so he knew the Patriots had some level of interest. But he didn't think that level of interest was particularly high.

"I’ve had more conversations with other teams other than the Patriots," Stevenson explained. "So I think that’s because the Patriots, they had a good idea on me.

"We had a great Zoom interview so I don’t think they really needed to talk to me much. It was just a surprise because I haven’t been communicating with them as much as other teams."

Running back isn't a pressing need for a New England team featuring Damien Harris, Sony Michel and James White in the backfield, so Stevenson's selection may have surprised fans, as well. But the 6-foot, 231-pound bruiser is the kind of every-down back who could add depth behind Harris if the Patriots decide to move on from Michel.

2021 NFL Draft Highlights: Rhamondre Stevenson, RB - Oklahoma

Stevenson's addition also was a welcome sight to former Sooners teammate Ronnie Perkins, whom the Patriots took with the No. 96 pick on Friday night.

 

Stevenson -- who along with Perkins missed the first six games of Oklahoma's 2020 season due to a failed drug test -- said he developed a "very strong bond" with the defensive end during their two years together in Norman.

"That was really my guy," Stevenson said. "That’s my right-hand, so it’s crazy that we got drafted to the same team. We actually talked about this during the season, so it’s crazy we manifested it and now we’ve just got to go to work."