he New England Patriots decided to boost their depth at running back in the 2022 NFL Draft and one selection is reminding fans of a beloved player from New England’s recent history.
Pierre Strong Jr. was drafted by the Patriots in the fourth round of the draft. The running back out of South Dakota State where he tallied 4,527 yards and 40 touchdowns in his collegiate career. Strong sits at third on the Jackrabbits all-time rushing list.
ALL the latest Patriots news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Patriots newsletter here!
Strong also had 18 games where he tallied 100 rushing yards or more and two games with 200 rushing yards or more along with 11 multi-touchdown games. The running back also became the fourth running back with three separate 1,000-yard seasons.
Pro Football Focus’ Doug Kyed made a comparison on Wednesday that will have fans in New England excited.
Kyed later followed up and explained where he sees the greatest similarity.
As fans can see and was mentioned above, Strong is overall a bigger player but has similar speed to Woodhead. Strong ran the fastest 40-yard dash among running backs in this year’s draft class at the NFL Scouting Combine.
With Woodhead having a lengthy career, Patriots fans wouldn’t mind Strong having a similar career.
A Fan Favorite
Woodhead became beloved in New England as the little running back that could. Whether it be through the air or on the ground, he was able to make an impact.
In three seasons with the Patriots, Woodhead had 250 carries for 1,199 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns. The running back also had 92 receptions for 982 yards and four receiving touchdowns.
Woodhead and Strong also went to similar-sized schools. Both running backs didn’t go to power-houses such as Alabama or Ohio State. Woodhead went to Chadron State College and Strong attended South Dakota State.
The running back ended his 9-year career with 517 carries for 2,238 yards and 15 rushing touchdowns along with 300 receptions for 2,698 yards and 17 receiving touchdowns.
A Strong Selection
Strong is also coming off a successful 2021 season where he was a consensus All-American selection after leading the FCS with 1,168 yards. The running back had nine games with over 100 rushing yards.
Strong is looking to help the Patriots in any way that he can in his rookie season.
“Helping the team out any way I can,” he said via Sports Illustrated. ”Out of the backfield, special teams, any way I can help the team win a Super Bowl. “Wherever New England needs me to play, that’s what I’m going to do. That’s the kind of person and player I am.”
The running back will have a lot of competition at the position. Along with starter Damien Harris, J.J. Taylor, Ty Montgomery, Rhamondre Stevenson, and Strong.
Along with running the ball, Strong can also catch the ball out of the backfield. He averaged 6.8 yards per reception in 2021.
So it remains to be seen what Strong’s career will look like but if it’s anything like Woodhead’s, he will have some success. The one thing that Strong will be hoping to do that Woodhead was unable to do is get a Super Bowl ring before he retires. Patriots fans hope if that happens, it’s with New England.