It remains to be seen how much playing time Patriots rookie running back Rhamondre Stevenson will receive this season given the strong depth New England has at that position, but if his preseason debut is any indication, he could make a nice impact on the offense in 2021.
The Patriots and Washington Football Team were just about done with Thursday night's preseason opener at Gillette Stadium when Stevenson gave the crowd one last moment to cheer for with a 91-yard touchdown run to put the finishing touches on a 22-13 win.
Check out the late fourth quarter score in the video below:
"I was just hoping he wouldn't get caught," Patriots running back James White said Thursday night when asked about Stevenson's touchdown run. "That's the reaction. That was a great play call. First of all, offensive line did a great job blocking, receivers, fullbacks. It was an impressive run for a guy his size. He had a good performance out there today, and hopefully he can keep it going."
Stevenson, a 2021 fourth-round pick out of Oklahoma, played against backups on Washington defense throughout the game. He tallied 127 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries. Despite the lack of quality competition Stevenson faced, his impressive skill set was on full display.
He runs hard and is able to break tackle really well. He's not an easy guy to bring down at 6-foot and 227 pounds. His speed also is a bit underrated. Even White was impressed with that aspect of Stevenson's game.
"I mean, today, I learned he's pretty fast," White said. "He's a young guy coming in ready to work. Competing. He's got a lot of talent, obviously, as you guys can see. I said each week we all just want to continue to progress and get better and learn. Obviously, still things that he can learn, and I can learn as myself. I think that's our job as a group, to push one another to be the best players that we can be."
The Patriots' running back depth chart is loaded.
Damien Harris is likely the starter and poised for a breakout season. Sony Michel is in the final year of his contract, and if he sticks with the team, that's another starting-caliber running back to utilize. J.J. Taylor punishes opposing players with a powerful running style, and as we saw Thursday night, he can catch passes out of the backfield, too. James White is still one of the best pass-catching running backs in the league and a super reliable player in clutch situations. Stevenson has shown plenty of potential as well.
The Patriots should once again have a top-tier rushing offense. The level of depth, talent and versatility at the running back position in New England is quite impressive. Whatever the situation, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has one or more running backs to get the job done.