FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — True to the character of his place, Rhamondre Stevenson felt like he was operating nonstop from the time the New England Patriots chosen him within the fourth spherical of the 2021 NFL draft.
Now, with an opportunity to exhale, the operating again can replicate on his rookie marketing campaign.
“It was type of disturbing, however profitable I’d say. These are two phrases I’d use,” Stevenson informed ESPN.com. “It was disturbing simply due to the every day grind of the NFL participant. However the success half was on the sphere, and studying be a professional.”
Because the Patriots choose up the items from a disappointing ending to the 2021 season — getting blasted by the Buffalo Bills 47-17 within the wild-card spherical of the playoffs — Stevenson represents a promising piece to construct round after dashing for 606 yards on 133 carries (4.6 yard common) with 5 touchdowns.
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A well timed aspect notice: His presence in the end contributed to the Patriots buying and selling operating again Sony Michel to the Los Angeles Rams in August for a 2022 sixth-round choose and 2023 fourth-rounder, with Michel taking part in a supporting function within the Rams’ run to Tremendous Bowl LVI towards the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday (6:30 p.m. ET, NBC).
That turned out to be a win-win deal for each groups, particularly after Stevenson overcame some early hiccups with blitz pickup and ball safety, and adjusting to the every day calls for of being a professional, to hit his stride by the second half of the season as a potent complement to high rusher Damien Harris.
If Stevenson is to leapfrog Harris in 2022, it’s going to begin within the offseason, and his first snap of the Patriots’ playoff loss highlights the world he is prioritizing.
The 6-foot, 226-pound Stevenson did not enter till the third collection of the sport, and by that time with 7:14 remaining within the second quarter, the workforce was already down 20-0. On the play, the Oklahoma alum initially aligned huge to the left as a part of an empty formation. Quarterback Mac Jones, within the shotgun, then motioned for him to come back align subsequent to him within the backfield.
Stevenson did so, earlier than flaring out to the left aspect to catch a fast cross for a 4-yard acquire.
“That is a giant focus this offseason, simply route-running and catching out of the backfield,” stated Stevenson, who had 4 catches for 33 yards within the playoff loss, and 14 receptions for 123 yards in the course of the common season.
That work will begin on the Michael Johnson Efficiency in Dallas, the place Stevenson labored with Bryan McCall final offseason. After which when the Patriots start their voluntary offseason program in April, Stevenson stated he plans to attend.
That is the place he can proceed to construct chemistry with teammates like Jones, with whom he is already developed an in depth bond.
“That stress I used to be speaking about, we had been going via on the identical path, so we had nice chemistry already, an amazing relationship,” Stevenson stated. “That is a cool dude. I can speak to him about something — football-related or not.”
He added that the robust reference to fellow operating backs Harris, James White, Brandon Bolden and J.J. Taylor helped him make it via his rookie season.
And in late January, Stevenson additionally loved time with fellow rookie Ronnie Perkins and offensive linemen Justin Herron, Mike Onwenu and Will Sherman on the Panini NFL Rookie Closeout occasion, signing his rookie playing cards and embracing a pastime he is had since he was a teen. His favourite is a Bo Jackson rookie card, and a Shawn Michaels wrestling card ranks amongst these he places on the high of the checklist.
Previous to the top of the season, longtime Patriots operating backs coach Ivan Fears famous Stevenson’s development over the 12 months, saying, “You bought to like the best way the child has tailored to who we’re and what we want from him. He is taken all of the criticism on the planet and has gotten higher. So much higher. I feel if he continues that, he will be one thing particular.”
Fears is anticipated to retire this offseason after 31 NFL seasons, and 25 with the Patriots, and Stevenson stated he is indebted to him.
“I discovered so much from him. He is been round a variety of nice operating backs, and is aware of what an amazing operating again is meant to look and carry out like,” he stated.
Fears thinks the Patriots have one.
And now Stevenson plans to place within the offseason work to show him proper.