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Revamped Runners: Which RB Leads Patriots in 2022?

Last season, the Patriots leading rusher was Damien Harris, but this year New England has plenty of competition in a crowded running back room.

The New England Patriots have one of the deepest running back positions in the NFL and do not have a true No. 1 back. But we could see that changing this season.

Going into training camp, the team has Damien Harris, Rhamondre Stevenson, James White, Ty Montgomery, Kevin Harris, Pierre Strong Jr., and J.J. Taylor on the roster. Harris and Stevenson are the two backs who figure to get the most carries.

In 2021, Harris carried the ball 202 times for 929 yards in 15 games, while Stevenson had 133 carries for 606 yards in 12 games. Assuming both running backs stay healthy, it could be a tossup who will lead the Patriots in rushing.

In his third year last year, Harris took an even bigger jump as he was given an opportunity to play unlike as a rookie. The 25-year-old played in five more games last year and he found the endzone an impressive 15 times. Meanwhile, Stevenson made an immediate impact as a rookie and filled in nicely when Harris was out with a concussion in week 10 against the Cleveland Browns. When Harris and Stevenson were both healthy, it appeared Harris was ahead of Stevenson on the depth chart but that could change this season.

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Coming off a strong rookie season, Stevenson is also going through his first full NFL offseason. He is expected to share early-down touches with Harris in 2022. Additionally, Harris is entering the final season of his rookie pact.

White, Montgomery, and Taylor will likely be battling for a spot on the roster. White is still trying to come back from a hip injury that ended his 2021 season. He might even start the season on the PUP list, which would make him ineligible to play for four games. New England signed Montgomery to a two-year contract in free agency, however, he is no lock to make the team. His versatility may be his saving grace as the veteran can contribute as a wide receiver, running back, and kick returner.

Both rookies (Kevin) Harris and Strong may have an uphill battle at seeing the field. They’ll be competing for the number three early-down option. They will be given plenty of opportunities in the preseason, but likely eventually spend most of their rookie campaigns on the Patriots’ practice squad. Even so, they will have to be ready at any moment if a player suffers an injury.