Which Running Backs Will Make The Team

It’s no secret the New England Patriots have lots of running backs at the moment. Injuries have plagued the position early on. Newly drafted Sony Michel has a knee injury. According to Jeff Howe of the Athletic Michel had his knee drained earlier this month due to a tear in his meniscus. Running back Rex Burkhead is also dealing with a slight tear in his knee but according to Howe it’s a minor injury and nothing serious. James White seems to be Tom Brady’s go-to guy as we saw on Thursday night against the Eagles. Fighting for a roster spot on the Patriots is running back Mike Gillislee who had 383 yards last season and 5 touchdowns.

Rex Burkhead was initially on the practice field Sunday afternoon but would go to the lower field with teammates on the physically unable to perform list. Rex Burkhead has not taken a preseason snap yet. Rookie running back Sony Michel was a no show in practice yesterday. Undrafted free agent Ralph Webb made a good impression in the first preseason game this season. Bill Belichick had this to say after the game against Washington:

“It’s what he was like at Vanderbilt: he ran hard, he’s tough. He’s not the biggest guy, but he’s got good strength for his size and he runs hard. … He’s a tough kid, runs with good pad level. Webb’s got good speed, catches the ball well. Made a nice catch on the two-point play. It was a low ball, made a good adjustment on the catch and got it in.”

My Predictions

In my opinion, I think the following running backs make the team.

  • James White. He had 429 yards and three touchdowns last season. He also is Brady’s most trusted running back on the team.
  • Rex Burkhead. He had 264 yards and five touchdowns last season.
  • Ralph Webb. He’s had a decent preseason and Belichick seems to like him.
  • Sony Michel singed a rookie contract and has the potential to be the next Dion Lewis.

That leaves Mike Gillislee not making the roster for the upcoming season. Last season Gillislee finished the season with 104 carries for 334 yards. Gillislee appeared in just one of the team’s final eleven games last season. He would injure his knee in that game and miss the entirety of the postseason.

The second running back who will be cut is Jeremy Hill. Hill never found the end zone and only had 116 rushing yards last season. The Patriots will carry four running backs on the roster heading into the season.