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Sony Michel could be odd man out in Patriots’ backfield

Chris Simms shares his expectations for the 2021 rookie class for the upcoming NFL season.

This week the Patriots declined the fifth-year option on running back Sony Michel’s contract. It’s possible Michel won’t be back for a fourth year in New England, either.

Michel, a running back chosen in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft, could lose his spot on the 53-man roster if rookie Rhamondre Stevenson impresses in training camp and the preseason, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.

The Patriots took Stevenson with the 120th overall pick in the draft. At Oklahoma, Stevenson was a major special teams contributor, while Michel has never played a significant role on special teams with the Patriots. That could give Stevenson a leg up if Bill Belichick is deciding between Stevenson and Michel for a final roster spot at running back.

Stevenson played only 19 games at Oklahoma and was a backup for most of his college career, but he has impressive size and versatility and has the potential to make an impact as a rookie.