Patriots Draft Running Back Rhamondre Stevenson In Fourth Round

Stevenson will add bulk to the Patriots' backfield

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The New England Patriots selected Oklahoma running back Rhamondre Stevenson in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft (120th overall).

At 6 feet, 231 pounds, Stevenson is the heaviest running the Patriots have drafted during the Bill Belichick era. He had 101 carries for 665 yards and seven touchdowns in six games last season and has been described as a “wrecking ball of a runner.”

Stevenson also caught 18 passes for 211 yards in his final season with the Sooners. He was suspended for the first five games as well as Oklahoma’s 2019 bowl game following a positive drug test, reportedly for marijuana.

New England’s third-round pick, Oklahoma edge defender Ronnie Perkins, served the same suspension for the same violation.

Stevenson ran a 4.63-second 40-yard dash with a 112-inch broad jump, 31 1/2-inch vertical jump, 7.09-second three-cone drill and 4.15-second short shuttle at his pro day. His explosiveness numbers were poor compared to other running backs (13th percentile in broad, 16th percentile in vertical, 7th percentile in 10-yard split) but he showed excellent quickness for a player his size, posting a shuttle time that ranked in the 78th percentile.

“Stevenson moves like a much smaller back, displaying the lower-body agility to hit the cutback lane or navigate between gaps without gearing down,” The Athletic’s Dane Brugler wrote in his draft guide. “While he is a gliding athlete for a big man, he needs to consistently play up to his size as both a runner and blocker.”

NFL Media’s Lance Zierlein also called Stevenson a “high-end kick-cover talent (with) core special teams potential.”

Offensively, he averaged 7.2 yards per carry over two seasons at Oklahoma after transferring from Cerritos Community College and ranked fifth in the FBS in forced missed tackle rate in 2020, per Pro Football Focus.

“(His) running style is willful and belligerent,” Zierlein wrote in Stevenson’s NFL.com draft profile.

Stevenson joins a Patriots backfield that features Damien Harris, Sony Michel, James White, Brandon Bolden and J.J. Taylor. White is on a one-year contract, and Michel could be entering a contract year if the Patriots do not exercise his fifth-year option.

The Patriots’ first four picks in the 2021 NFL Draft have come from the same two premier programs. Earlier, they selected Alabama quarterback Mac Jones in the first round (No. 15 overall), Alabama defensive tackle Christian Barmore in the second round (No. 38) and Perkins in the third round (No. 96).

Jones and Stevenson both participated in the 2021 Senior Bowl.

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