2021-2022 Season Outlook For Each Patriots Running Back

2021-2022 Season Outlook For Each Patriots Running Back

NFL

2021-2022 Season Outlook For Each Patriots Running Back

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 Bob Breidenbach via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The New England Patriots are heading into the 2021-2022 NFL season with a deep group of running backs. With plenty of depth, New England is expected to deploy their committee approach with these running backs, as they typically do.

The Patriots running back committee is coming off a fantastic preseason showing against the Washington Football Team, which is hopefully a sign of things to come.

With a top-tier offensive line and a run-heavy approach, this group is going to see a lot of work in the upcoming season. With that being said, here’s my outlook for each Patriots running back.

Damien Harris

Starting things off with the presumptive lead horse, Damien Harris. In his rookie season, Harris played well throughout the preseason, but following this, he didn’t see much action for the rest of the year.

Last season, Harris garnered more opportunity and capitalized. Outside of his week 4 performance, where his stats reflected better play than he actually produced, I came away impressed just about everytime Harris touched the field. And going back to that week 4 performance, Harris still didn’t play horrible, and slack should be cut as he was coming off an injury.

This season, I expect Harris to put it all together for an extremely productive season. Harris has added more strength and refined vision to an already strong, physical running style. His ability to attack gaps and break tackles combined with high-end decision-making and an underrated ability to beat defenders to the edge, Harris will bring a ton of value as a runner. He’s not an elite pass-catcher by any means, but given the fact that he’s serviceable in this area with above average pass protection as a compliment, Harris can bring some value in the passing game as well.

2021-2022 Stat Prediction: 

174 Rushing Attempts

833 Rush Yards

7 Rushing Touchdowns

21 Targets

16 Receptions

116 Receiving Yards

1 Receiving Touchdown

Sony Michel

The Patriots have declined Sony Michel’s fifth year option, making this the fourth and final year of his deal. It’s an important season for Michel, who has struggled to build momentum after his breakout playoff run in 2018-2019 that helped the Patriots win their sixth Super Bowl.

Michel has found success in the run game, but he’s not dominant enough to make up for his lack of value in the pass game to live up to his status as a first round selection. Regardless, he’s a nice depth piece to have, and with added motivation in a contract year, Michel could improve his stock before heading onto the open market.

With that being said, the Patriots should explore a preseason trade that would send Michel out of New England. He most likely won’t be back with the team next season, unless it’s on a cheap short term deal. Plus, despite the fact that he does bring valuable depth, New England still has solid depth outside of Michel at a very replaceable position. If a good offer is out there, it’s definitely worth consideration.

2021-2022 Stat Prediction: 

119 Rushing Attempts

562 Rush Yards

3 Rushing Touchdowns

13 Targets

9 Receptions

68 Receiving Yards

0 Receiving Touchdowns

James White

James White is no longer in his prime, but he remains the Patriots top receiving back heading into the 2021-2022 season.

He still possesses great hands and a knack for making plays in open space with his vision, quick feet, and sudden elusiveness. I expect to see designed screen plays and the occasional swing route drawn up for White to get the ball in his hands, something the Patriots have done for years now.

Leadership is another quality you’re getting with him. Having a veteran like James White to lead this group, that’s something to be happy about.

2021-2022 Stat Prediction: 

30 Rushing Attempts

122 Rush Yards

0 Rushing Touchdowns

73 Targets

55 Receptions

435 Receiving Yards

2 Receiving Touchdowns

JJ Taylor

Just 16 months ago, JJ Taylor went undrafted. Now here we are just over a year later, and he has a very realistic chance at making the Patriots 53-man roster for the second straight season with an opportunity to make a real impact.

At 5’6”, he is very small. His small frame gives him very little value in pass protection, and it also limits his catch radius in the pass game. And considering he lacks top-tier elusiveness, Taylor will never be a heavy usage back.

However, he still brings value as a pass-catcher, and his mean demeanor and solid vision in the run game are enough for a handful of touches. Plus, he can play special teams as well.

As previously stated, Taylor is nothing more than a depth piece, but he’s a good one at that. I’ll take his versatility towards the bottom of the depth chart each and every day.

2021-2022 Stat Prediction: 

32 Rushing Attempts

141 Rush Yards

1 Rushing Touchdown

9 Targets

6 Receptions

47 Receiving Yards

0 Receiving Touchdowns

Rhamondre Stevenson

Patriots fourth round pick Rhamondre Stevenson had a fantastic debut on Thursday night, logging two touchdowns and a string of impressive runs with his 10 carries.

He’s a mammoth of a running back that loves to punish defenses with his size when operating downhill. He pairs this with underrated track speed, pass-catching, and elusiveness in the open field, although none of these qualities are elite by any means. It’s also worth noting that Stevenson brings value as a special teamer, which is something the Patriots will look to utilize early on.

However, his vision must improve, and his lack of East-West movement certainly hurts. If Stevenson can improve in these areas, he could develop a well-rounded portfolio of ancillary skills to compliment his bruising power when firing downhill.

Despite his breakout debut, I don’t believe Stevenson will receive many offensive snaps. The Patriots usually hold mid-round rookies back early on, and with so much established depth at the running back position, I don’t believe Stevenson breaks the trend. With that being said, he may see work as a special teamer immediately.

2021-2022 Stat Prediction: 

5 Rushing Attempts

25 Rush Yards

0 Rushing Touchdowns

1 Target

1 Reception

6 Receiving Yards

0 Receiving Touchdowns

Brandon Bolden

After opting out of last year’s season, Brandon Bolden is returning for his eighth year with the Patriots. He doesn’t see much work on the offensive side of the ball unless it’s garbage time, but his value as a veteran and core special teamer is what earns him a roster spot year after year. I expect him to make the Patriots 53-man roster once cuts are all said and done.

2021-2022 Stat Prediction: 

7 Rushing Attempts

29 Rush Yards

0 Rushing Touchdowns

2 Targets

1 Reception

5 Receiving Yards

0 Receiving Touchdowns

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