One running back out, another in.
The New England Patriots on Monday placed second-year back Damien Harris on injured reserve and promoted undrafted rookie J.J. Taylor from the practice squad.
Harris, who reportedly underwent finger surgery last week and hasn’t practiced since, can return to the 53-man roster after three weeks. The 2019 third-round draft pick had looked like a potential starter before his injury.
Taylor also performed well in training camp. Listed at 5-foot-6, Patriots running backs coach Ivan Fears nicknamed him “Little Dion,” a reference to former New England back Dion Lewis.
“Same quickness, same suddenness,” Fears said midway through training camp. “(Taylor is) a hell of a pass-catcher, guy’s got great vision. Ah, there’s a (expletive)load of stuff that’s good about him. … We’re very pleased with what we’ve seen from him, we really are. We’ll see how far he can carry it.”
Taylor averaged 5.6 yards per carry over four seasons at Arizona and caught a career-high 32 passes for 289 yards as a senior in 2019. He also has extensive kick return experience.
With Taylor now aboard, this marks the 17th consecutive season New England has entered with at least one UDFA on its roster.
The Patriots also placed defensive tackle Beau Allen on IR on Monday and promoted rookie linebacker Cassh Maluia (sixth round) from the practice squad.
New England is expected to sign undrafted receivers Mason Kinsey and Kristian Wilkerson to fill its two vacant practice squad spots.
Thumbnail photo via New England Patriots