FOXBORO, Mass. — LeGarrette Blount 2.0 is hoping to learn a thing or two from his New England Patriots predecessor.
Rookie Rhamondre Stevenson, whose hard-charging running style has garnered comparisons to Blount’s, said he’s spoken with the former Patriots power back as he prepares for his first NFL season.
“I had a few words with him, yeah,” Stevenson said Friday in a video conference. “I hope to have some more with him, just to pick his brain and just see where he sees some fault and some (areas) where I could get better and things like that. So yeah, I talked to him, but I hope to talk to him a little bit more and pick his brain and just see what I need to work on from his point of view.”
Blount has to be impressed by Stevenson’s performance thus far.
The fourth-round draft pick is averaging an NFL-best 7.8 yards per carry through two preseason games. He also leads all NFL ball-carriers in rushing yards (194; no one else has more than 136) and rushing touchdowns (four; only one other player has more than one).
In his pro debut, Stevenson ripped off a 91-yard touchdown run, outsprinting several Washington Football Team defenders as he blazed down the right sideline.
As that run illustrated, Stevenson isn’t a carbon copy of Blount. He can use his 6-foot, 227-pound frame to plow through defenders, sure — as he did on one particularly Blount-esque carry against the Philadelphia Eagles — but he also can make defenders miss with quick cuts and boasts deceptive breakaway speed.
In his second preseason game against Philadelphia, Pro Football Focus credited Stevenson with 10 forced missed tackles. Damien Harris led all Patriots rushers in that category in 2020. He had 19 all season.
“I dreamed about playing in the NFL, and to be in my first training camp — closer to the end of it than the beginning — it’s just a great feeling,” said Stevenson, who ranked fifth in the FBS in forced missed tackle rate in 2020. “I kind of feel accomplished, things like that, but I just know I got a lot more work to do. But it’s a great feeling, knowing I’ve almost made it through my first training camp.”
It’s unclear what Stevenson’s role will be this season, but the Patriots’ decision to trade veteran Sony Michel should be viewed as a vote of confidence in the young Oklahoma product. He’ll get one final preseason tuneup Sunday night against the New York Giants.