There are plenty of storylines to keep an eye on heading into Patriots training camp next week. There’s the potential Mac Jones year two leap, the offensive coordinator battle between Joe Judge and Matt Patricia, and so much more to wet your beak with as we enter the 2022 NFL season.
Another storyline that fascinates me is how New England’s running back room is going to shake out. Backs Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson were great last year, the team drafted rookies Kevin Harris and Pierre Strong Jr., and – according to Mike Reiss of ESPN – James White is still “walking with what appeared to be an uncomfortable gait.”
White suffered a hip subluxation during week three against the Saints last year that ended his season.
According to our gambling partners at BetOnline.ag, he has a chance to win the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award, sitting at +5000 odds. It’s steep – but he’s listed. Here’s BetOnline’s top five:
2022 NFL Comeback Player of the Year
Jameis Winston +400
Derrick Henry +700
Michael Thomas +800
Christian McCaffrey +1100
Daniel Jones +1200
Like I said, White’s chances are steep. But can he do it?
Honestly, I think it’s more likely that White doesn’t even make the week one roster. The nine-year NFL vet has some serious tread on his tires, and he now has an abundance of competition to get through. Here’s a look at their current stable of running backs:
- Damien Harris
- Rhamondre Stevenson
- Kevin Harris
- Pierre Strong Jr.
- Ty Montgomery
- James White
- J.J. Taylor
- Malcolm Perry
D. Harris, Stevenson, K. Harris, and Strong Jr. are locks to make the team – and if we use last season as an indicator, they’ll likely hang on to two of the remaining four players.
Ty Montgomery is 29-years-old and entering his ninth season in the NFL. A former wide receiver, he can be used in multiple spots on offense as well as on special teams. Being a swiss army knife like this is something the Patriots have always cherished.
5-foot-6 scat back J.J. Taylor has made New England’s roster each of last seasons and, like Montgomery, spends some of his time playing special teams. This could bode well for Taylor heading into final cuts.
My prediction is that Damien Harris, Rhamondre Stevenson, Kevin Harris, Pierre Strong Jr., Ty Montgomery, and J.J. Taylor make up New England’s running back room in 2022. James White and Malcolm Perry unfortunately do not.
We’ll see how it all plays out starting next Wednedsay at Patriots camp. I’ll be at Gillette for a first hand look – so make sure keep it here with me for all the latest!
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