New England Patriots: 3 players primed for breakout seasons

Damien Harris #37 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
Damien Harris #37 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /
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New England Patriots
Damien Harris #37 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images) /

New England Patriots Breakout Candidate No. 1: Damien Harris

Maybe you consider last season to have been Damien Harris breakout season, but if not, he seems primed for one this upcoming season. The former third round pick waited patiently in the wings for basically the first season and a half of his career, before establishing himself as New England’s top running back by the end of last season.

Harris received only four carries his rookie season, and started off last season sitting behind Sony Michel. When Michel went out with injury, Harris stepped up and made the running back position his own. He picked up 691 yards on 137 carries, good for a solid five yards per carry, while also picking up two touchdowns as well.

Harris did all his damage in just 10 games, and ended up splitting time with Michel when he returned from injury. So far throughout training camp, it’s seemed like a pretty even split between the two so far, and that could be the way things start off this season too.

But if Harris is going to have a breakout season, he’s going to have to pick up yards on every carry, no matter whether or not he’s splitting reps with Michel. If he can take over the lead role at some point on the season, he will be in a great spot to hit the 1000 yard threshold.

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In a relatively short amount of time. Harris basically established himself into one of the most effective running backs in the game. In his limited time last season, Harris graded out as a 90.3 according to Pro Football Focus, which was the second highest grade in the entire league.
Imagine what he could do over a full season.

If Harris doesn’t win the lead role by the start of the season, there’s a good chance he will at some point during the season. It feels like Harris is just waiting for the reigns to be fully taken off, and once he does, there’s a good chance he will develop into one of the best running backs in the game.