Patriots

Damien Harris is the best RB in the NFL, according to PFF

Patriots

LeGarrette Blount said Tuesday the New England Patriots still haven't adequately replaced him at running back.

Pro Football Focus might disagree.

The website updated its running back rankings through Week 12, and ahead of Derrick Henry and Dalvin Cook is ... Patriots running back Damien Harris.

Harris' traditional stats aren't necessarily elite; he's seventh in the NFL in rushing yards per game (70.1) and tied for fifth in yards per rush (5.1). Henry and Cook both have topped 1,000 rushing yards already this season and have 25 rushing touchdowns between them.

But PFF's rankings also account for a running back's receiving, pass-blocking and run-blocking ability, and Harris has the clear edge in pass-blocking with an 82.5 overall grade compared to Cook's 59.6 and Henry's 58.3.

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How much stock you place in PFF's rankings is up to you, but there's no doubt Harris has emerged as an elite running back in Sony Michel's absence and one of the few bright spots in the Patriots' anemic offense.

The Alabama product already has three 100-yard games since Michel hit injured reserve in Week 4 and played a season-high 64 percent of the Patriots' snaps Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals despite Michel returning to the lineup.

 

New England clearly is comfortable leaning on Harris in his second NFL season, and he'll need to continue to produce down the stretch with Rex Burkhead now on injured reserve.