Patriots training camp is a microcosm of what the league wants. The NFL wants constant parody and with the league being a hard cap one, every team has to make tough decisions to fall under the cap. If a team is above the cap, they lose all flexibility to adjust and adapt their roster to how the league changes from year to year.
Training camp is one of the only times a team can evaluate their roster to determine how to field the best one, while at the same time saving the most money. Head Coach Bill Belichick is one of the best at this. He’s harsh and can even be considered “scary” by former Patriots.
Coming off a season in which he ran for 929 yards and averaged 4.6 yards per carry, Damien Harris is looking to build upon a solid year. The Patriot’s last season were a running football team, and this year shouldn’t be any different. The Alabama product wants to carry the load and solidify his starting role from a year ago.
However, he has a 2021 draft pick out of Oklahoma, Rhamondre Stevenson, to worry about. During his rookie year Stevenson ran for 606 yards and also averaged 4.6 yards per carry.
While Harris is a solid back, Stevenson has more potential. They’re the same size but he’s bigger by 15 pounds, while also maintaining his speed, quickness and agility. He’s also younger and played a couple years less in the league.
Especially for this position it matters how old he is, it matters how many hits he’s taken in his career. The lifespan of a running back is short and it has unique variables to watch for, in comparison to all the other positions.
In regards to the other running backs, James White will make the roster. With a cheap contract and not much competition, veteran Ty Montgomery and second year player J.J. Taylor, he’s not in a battle to worry about.
Nelson Agholor didn’t get much playing time last season because he fell out of favor and had some key drops throughout the season. He finished with 37 receptions for 473 yards and three touchdowns.
Devante Parker was traded by the Dolphins in April to the Patriots and he also didn’t play much last year, except it was due to injury and an overall inconsistency. A theme throughout his career. He had 40 receptions for 515 yards and two touchdowns.
With relatively expensive contracts and a lack of consistency and production, one of them is staying and the other is going. Parker has more talent and consistency than Agholor, but Agholor is available more often.
For the other receivers, Kendrick Bourne, Jakobi Meyers and N’Keal Harry. Their fates have already been decided.
Harry is going to get cut. With no trade partner in sight, one year left on his contract and the label of “bust”, Harry can be released with relative ease and without many negative cap consequences.
Bourne and Meyers are safe and will make the roster because of their solid production and abundance of availability.
While this isn’t really a “battle” per se, rookies always have to prove themselves, especially high draft picks from the first three rounds. Cole Strange, pick number 29, out of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, will have to prove himself against the veteran backups at the upcoming Patriots training camp. The other four positions on the line are solidified with Isiah Wynn, David Andrews, Mike Onwenu and Trent Brown, which is why it’s technically a battle and something to watch for.
For More Great Football Content
Follow us on Twitter at @GridironHeroics for more great content. We appreciate you taking time to read our articles. To interact more with our community and keep up to date on the latest in Football news, JOIN OUR FREE FACEBOOK GROUP by CLICKING HERE
Pingback: Patriots Training Camp Defensive Battles to Watch for - Gridiron Heroics
Pingback: Robert Kraft among 25 semifinalists for the Hall of Fame - Gridiron Heroics
Pingback: Mac Jones Primed to Avoid Sophomore Slump - Gridiron Heroics