Why an expert views Rhamondre Stevenson as one of the NFL’s best prospects

Stevenson was efficient in his backup role as a rookie, rushing for 606 yards and five touchdowns.

Rhamondre Stevenson has been featured in several facets in the first few practices of training camp. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

Many experts and analysts have penned the Patriots’ roster as one that doesn’t have much top-tier talent. However, the team may have some diamonds in the rough.

Running back Rhamondre Stevenson was ranked third on Football Outsiders’ Rivers McCown’s annual list of 25 young, under-the-radar players that could breakout in the upcoming season.

McCown, who only selected players drafted outside of the first round through the 2019-21 drafts for the list, placed Stevenson so high in part because of his success rate on runs. Stevenson ranked third in success rate (59 percent), a Football Outsiders stat that determines how many of a running back’s rushes were “successful” based on down and distance, as a rookie.

“Stevenson finished in the top 20 in both rushing DVOA (the amount of value a running back brings per play) and rushing DYAR (which measures the total value a running back brings),” McCown wrote in an article for “He also had 0.53 rushing yards over expectation per NFL’s Next Gen Stats, a top-10 figure in the NFL. And he was behind [Damien] Harris in all three categories.”


While Stevenson rated well in metrics that measure efficiency as a rookie, McCown cautioned those who might want to pick Stevenson for their fantasy drafts considering the Patriots’ running back situation.

“Harris remains ahead of Stevenson on the depth chart heading into 2022. That doesn’t mean we can rule out Stevenson taking a bigger share of the backfield,” McCown wrote. “With James White re-signed to play third-down back and rookie Pierre Strong Jr. behind him in that role, Stevenson is going to have to beat out Harris to get more than a share of the lead role in this backfield. He has the talent to make that happen, but some patience might be warranted on any kind of impending breakout just because of the competition.”

In the first week of Patriots training camp (which were all padless practices), Stevenson was featured plenty. Even though Harris was still getting first-team reps in rushing drills, Stevenson was heavily used during passing drills and did some work with the first-team in 7-on-7s and 11-on-11s.

Of course, White is on the physically unable to perform list due to his hip injury from last season. There is some concern about the veteran running back’s future though, with ESPN’s Mike Reiss noting White was still walking with “an uncomfortable gait” earlier in July. Strong was also limited in Patriots practice this past week.


After a solid rookie season on the ground (606 yards on 4.6 yards per carry and five touchdowns), Stevenson shared he wanted to be more of a factor in the passing game during the spring.

“I did a lot of [practicing on my receiving],” Stevenson said on Thursday. “Running routes, getting better with my hands, and pass-protection. All of the above.”

Not only is Stevenson looking to improve from the 14-reception mark he had last season, he also worked on his conditioning. He said after Thursday’s practice that he lost seven pounds over the offseason as the Patriots have also used him to return kicks in practice.

“Just the regular conditioning, to be honest,” Stevenson said of his offseason physical change. “I knew how I was last year. I didn’t really come in in the best shape. I just knew what I had to do and took those steps to get into better shape.”

“I feel like I can run a lot more,” Stevenson added. “I feel better overall. I’m not really sure how to describe it. I just feel better.”

Stevenson’s improved physical shape might not be the only reason for Patriots fans to be hopeful that he breaks out in 2022. McCown actually has a good track record with prognosticating potential breakout players on the Patriots in recent years. He placed Harris No. 1 on the 2021 version of the list. The Patriots’ running back proved McCown right, rushing for 929 yards (4.6 per carry) and 15 touchdowns last season.


McCown also picked former Patriots corner J.C. Jackson to be a breakout player in another version of the list. Jackson finished second in the league interceptions in each of the last two seasons, helping him earn a Pro Bowl nod in 2021.


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