All eyes locked in on Cam and Mac for the first game of the year. When Cam ran onto the field, they gave Mac an ovation on his first drive. However, Mac did not have the best performance out of the rookies. His draft classmate from Oklahoma stole the show with one quarter remaining.
Rhamondre Stevenson debuted in the third quarter, showing he can hit the gaps and break off tackles. He concluded a long drive with Brian Hoyer by punching it in for six. Stevenson was not finished.
With over a minute left in the game, the Patriots needed a first down to seal it. Hoyer hands it to Stevenson, bolting for the outside edge. He beats the defenders to gain the first, but he kept running. Stevenson stayed in bounds, regained speed to score the game-clinching 91-yard touchdown eventually. Gillette Stadium erupted.
The Patriots drafted Rhamondre Stevenson with the 120th pick in this year’s draft. Once again, Belichick hit another pick out of the park. Stevenson did not have many attempts but did a lot with the small amount given.
The Patriots have a full house in the backfield with Damien Harris, Sony Michel, and the returning James White and Rex Burkhead. So why would they draft Stevenson? Great question.
Why should Patriots fans believe in Rhamondre Stevenson?
I hopped on the bandwagon after watching only ten minutes of his highlights before the first preseason game. Stevenson’s playstyle is one that the Patriots’ offense needs. He runs hard, like Harris, but he has a more oversized frame than most of the other ball carries, standing at 6’0 and weighing 240 lbs.
Stevenson has an incredible ability to shed tackles. He shrugs off tackles like mosquitoes until three or four more players have to join the cause. His stiff arm is his best friend; it is comparable to King Henry’s. Yet, he does not lose stride when extending it and maintains balance to keep moving forward.
He capped off his first game leading all rushers with ten carries for 127 yards and two touchdowns. That’s an RB1 performance in fantasy football. The last time the Patriots had a running back similar to Stevenson is LeGarrette Blount, who led the league in touchdowns that season with 18.
What will Stevenson’s role look like in the offense?
Attempting to predict Belichick’s next move is like a perfect march madness bracket; it’s great to fantasize about, but achieving the ideal bracket and guessing what’s in Belichick’s mind will never do it. However, that doesn’t mean I’m not going to give my two cents.
Damien Harris has earned the RB1 job. Sony Michel should be traded or released by the start of Week 1. James White and Rex Burkhead continue to receive goal line touches or opportunities as 3rd down backs. Stevenson fits somewhere in the middle.
Stevenson will be used in a limited role until proven otherwise; Belichick has been doing this for years. However, if Stevenson pulls out another highlight play, he could be seeing first-team reps within the next few days.
Stevenson ranks high on the things to watch for in the Patriots’ second preseason game against the Eagles. Usually, most of the league’s starters do not play in the second week of the preseason. So the door flew wide open for you, Rhamondre. Now, run through it.