The Patriots’ roster construction was far from over once Mr. Irrelevant heard his name called. After making 10 selections in the draft, Bill matched that tally with 10 undrafted free agents. That leaves three roster spots still available. J.J. Taylor was one of the UDFA that stood out at only 5’5″ 185 lbs. He has proven to be an above average running back at the collegiate level and will have a shot to join a crowded Patriots backfield.
In 2018 Taylor ran for 1,434 yards with 5.6 yards per carry. He also added 133 yards in the air. His workload was scaled back in 2019 but he still ran for 721 yards and caught 32 passes for 289 yards. He is surprisingly effective running up the middle much like White and Lewis. One stat that may have gotten Belichick’s attention was his zero fumbles on 587 carries and 699 total touches, including the return game.
Taylor is a priority-free agent because he is a hard runner that can break more tackles than expected and has the ability to make defenders miss one on one. He is not the fastest running back (4.61 40-yard dash) but he is quick and hard to tackle at times. He also has value in the passing game much like Dion Lewis. Here are the half backs already on the Patriots roster:
- Sony Michel
- James White
- Rex Burkhead
- Damien Harris
- Brandon Bolden (Core Special Teamer)
The Patriots are certainly not depleted at the position, but Belichick likes to rotate backs not only in the game but feature different backs depending on his game plan. I could see Taylor eventually earning some reps in the rotation even if he starts on the practice squad.