2. Pierre Strong
Assuming the Patriots don’t sign a big-name running back at the last minute to complement Rhamondre Stevenson, Strong will battle Kevin Harris for the RB2 opening vacated by Damien Harris.
Based on their numbers as rookies last year, Strong seems to have the inside track to win the role. He racked up 100 rushing yards and 1 TD on just 10 attempts last season, while Harris struggled with 2.9 yards per carry. Strong is also two years older than Harris and was drafted two rounds earlier, so he’s a bit more polished.
Strong’s pre-draft profile is another thing that gives him some really interesting potential. Running a 4.37-second 40-yard dash while weighing in at 207 pounds is an elite combination. There’s a reason he was able to rush for a staggering 7 yards per carry at South Dakota State, and size and strength like that absolutely translate to the NFL level.
With Damien out of the picture, expect Strong to take the RB2 job and run with it (literally). Bill Belichick loves to rotate his running backs to keep them fresh and put opposing defenses on their toes, so Strong should get plenty of snaps and the chance to show his stuff. He also has competition from Harris, which should motivate him to have a breakout year.