Patriots’ Budding 24-Year-Old Star Gets Huge Projection for 2021

Getty Damien Harris

From the beginning, the 2021 New England Patriots have been pegged as a run-dominant offense.

Many thought that offense would be led by Cam Newton, but when he was released and the team elected to go with rookie quarterback Mac Jones, there was a question as to how much that decision would change the attack.

Chances are, it won’t change it too much. The Patriots are still going to run the ball a ton, and that should mean we’re going to see a ton of Damien Harris this season.

CLNS’ Evan Lazar has a bold prediction for Harris. He believes he has a chance to be among the league leaders in rushing at the end of the season. In a video that focuses on Lazar’s 2 bold predictions, he said:

Bold Predictions For The Patriots SeasonFOXBORO, MA — Patriots insider Evan Lazar gives you his bold predictions for the 2021 Patriots Season. He gives you his bold prediction for the Patriots offense and defense. Evan Lazar will be LIVE from Gillette Stadium on Sunday vs the Dolphins. —————— #patriotspresspass #clns #patriots __________________________________________________________________________ 🍀 For More Celtics Content: 🔴 🔴…2021-09-11T17:45:09Z

I believe Harris has a chance to finish as a top three rusher in terms of yards in the NFL this season. The Patriots shipped Sony Michel to the Los Angeles Rams, I’m still not a hundred percent sold that they trust rookie running back Rhamondre Stevenson fully to give him a big workload. J.J. Taylor will factor in as a change of pace back. We know James White’s gonna play on passing downs, but as that early down running back first and second down ball carrier Damien Harris should dominate the targets. The Pats have a great offensive line. Some road graders on there with Michael Onwenu and Shaq Mason and Trent Brown to lead the way. They’ll be in a ton of 12 personnel with Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith on the football field, they’re gonna have a great blocking up front for Damien Harris he’s gonna dominate the carries. We could be talking about 250-plus for Damien Harris this season.

It makes sense. The Patriots have one of the league’s best offensive lines on paper and Harris was productive last year when he was on the field. In fact, availability might be the only thing that prevents the 24-year-old budding star from proving Lazar correct.

Harris’ Health is Always a Question

In 2 seasons, Harris has only played in 12 games.

The absence of playing time as a rookie wasn’t entirely due to injury. Sony Michel, whom the Patriots traded to the Los Angeles Rams in August, was the starter and he remained healthy much of the season.

Harris, for the most part, didn’t get an opportunity to play. Last season, he became the primary back early in the season, but a number of injuries limited him and forced the second-year player to miss 6 games.

If that happens this season, the Patriots have a rookie waiting in the wings who could ultimately supplant Harris as the lead dog.

Will Rhamondre Stevenson Cut Into Damien Harris’ Carries?

Believe the hype about Rhamondre Stevenson. He is a feature back, it’s just a matter of getting the carries. The Patriots might legitimately have a backfield on-par with the Cleveland Browns (Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt) only Harris and Stevenson are unproven.

If Stevenson, who led the NFL in preseason rushing yards and TDs, gets an opportunity, and makes the most of it. Bill Belichick and Co. may have a hard time pulling him off the field.

If that happens, Lazar’s prediction might not prove accurate, but the Patriots’ run game might be even better than we expect.

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