New England Patriots: Top 3 performers of training camp

Josh Uche #55 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Josh Uche #55 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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New England Patriots
J.J. Taylor #42 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

New England Patriots top performer No. 2: Rhamondre Stevenson/J.J. Taylor

Much has been made about New England’s passing attack, and more specifically who will be leading it, come Week 1. But that shouldn’t take away from the fact the New England’s ground game has dominated throughout training camp and the two preseason contests so far. A big part of that has because of breakout performances by Rhamondre Stevenson and J.J. Taylor.

Both Stevenson and Taylor had been making their cases to make the roster this training camp, and it appears they finally won their battle when fellow running back Sony Michel was dealt to the Los Angeles Rams Wednesday morning. Nobody was sure what to expect from either of these players during training camp, but they both played so well they basically forced New England to move on from Michel.

Stevenson announced himself early on, as he broke off a spectacular 91 yard touchdown against the Washington Football Team in the first preseason contest that was an immediate highlight for the Pats. He followed up a two touchdown performance in the opener with two more touchdowns against the Eagles, and despite just being drafted a few months ago, he may be the Pats goal line back when the games actually matter.

Taylor had a bit of a slow start before ramping things up midway through, and it quickly became clear the Patriots couldn’t afford to lose the dual-threat back. With a playstyle similar to that of former Patriots running back Dion Lewis, Taylor gashed the Eagles for 111 total yards on just 15 touches, while also picking up a touchdown. He continued to make his mark in the practices, and Michel was traded shortly after.

Not only did these two earn their way onto the roster, they did it in one of the deepest positions on the roster. Michel was no slouch himself, and looked like he could have been set to have a big year had he stayed in New England. But the Patriots couldn’t risk cutting either two of these guys and hoping they found their way onto the practice squad, which made moving Michel a necessity.

Even by just beating out Michel for a roster spot, these two proved they are the real deal. But to piggyback on that, they were phenomenal in the game action as well. Stevenson and Taylor were two key cogs in the Pats running game in training camp, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see some spot appearences from them during the regular season as well.