Patriots rookies played sparingly in Week 1, but one first-year player managed to impress over his brief time on the field.
J.J. Taylor provided a little punch from the backfield in New England’s season-opening victory over the Miami Dolphins. The undrafted rookie ran for 22 yards on five carries and also added a 4-yard catch. Those obviously aren’t gaudy numbers, but there’s something to be said for Bill Belichick and Co. finding some snaps for the 22-year-old in the Patriots’ opener.
ESPN’s Mike Reiss sees Taylor building off his NFL debut and making an impact Sunday night when New England visits the Seattle Seahawks. Reiss believes the Arizona product will turn in a highlight-reel play at some point during the primetime matchup.
“Undrafted rookie running back J.J. Taylor will make a play that leads the national television audience to take notice,” Reiss wrote as his “bold prediction” for Patriots-Seahawks. “At 5-foot-8 and 185 pounds, he can play “hide and seek,” according to running backs coach Ivan Fears, who has compared Taylor to Dion Lewis and Darren Sproles in terms of his physical stature.”
It would behoove Taylor to make the most of his playing time over the first few weeks of the season. Second-year back Damien Harris, who the Patriots were awfully high on throughout training camp, will be eligible to return from injured reserve in Week 4. One has to imagine Harris will be inserted into the gameplan once healthy, which could result in diminished snaps for Taylor. That is, unless, the Arizona product proves his worth early and forces the coaching staff’s hand.
The Patriots and Seahawks are slated to kick off at 8:20 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images