The New England Patriots' running back room is looking deep heading into the 2021 NFL season.
Damien Harris is set to be the undisputed lead back following an encouraging 2020 campaign and the departure of former Patriots first-rounder Sony Michel. Rookie Rhamondre Stevenson, J.J. Taylor and special teamer Brandon Bolden make up the rest of New England's RB depth chart.
Stevenson and Taylor shined in the preseason, leading many to believe they will play a significant role in the Patriots offense this year. If anyone can attest to what the duo is capable of, it's Oklahoma running backs coach and former NFL RB DeMarco Murray.
Murray, who coached Taylor at Arizona and Stevenson at Oklahoma, joined Phil Perry on a brand new episode of the Next Pats Podcast to share his thoughts on the two promising Patriots running backs.
"He has some very sneaky-great tendencies in the catching game," Murray said of Stevenson. "For his size, he has great feet for his size, really good balance. He's a physical player but you can also put him out there and run some sluggo routes, vertical routes, choice routes that most backs his size can't do the things he can do in the passing game.
"Rhamondre's a great kid and works his tail off. He really made an effort to push himself in practice. You could tell as the season progressed he became a better practice player and it obviously showed on Saturdays."
That's some high praise for the Patriots' fourth-round pick, but what about Taylor?
"He's one of the hardest-working players I've ever been a part of," Murray said. "He's a true pro. He's extremely smart. He always had that pro mentality from the first day that I met him at Arizona. I always tell people if he was three inches taller he would've been a first-round pick.
"His versatility, his ability at that size to be as physical as he is in the passing game, the blocking game, and to finish runs, it's second to none. You think about a guy like J.J. Taylor, he's a great kid and both of those guys will do some great things for the Patriots."
Also discussed on the new episode: How versatile can Taylor be this season? What critical number does Perry want to focus on in regard to Mac Jones heading into the season-opener? And what will happen at CB if Jalen Mills isn't ready to go vs. Miami?