The Patriots are the ninth NFL team to sign their entire 2019 rookie class, as New England has agreed to terms with third-round running back Damien Harris, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
Harris, the 87th overall selection in April’s draft, will sign a four-year deal worth roughly $3.6MM. He’ll join the Patriots’ roster following a four-year career at Alabama, during which he won two National Championships and earned second-team All-SEC honors during his senior season. Harris came off the board 63 picks after fellow Tide running back Josh Jacobs, but Harris actually surpassed Jacobs in rushing attempts, rushing yards, and receptions in 2018.
Harris, who stands 5’10”, 216 pounds, topped 1,000 yards rushing in both his sophomore and junior seasons, averaging more than seven yards per carry in each campaign. In a pre-draft scouting report, Lance Zierlein of NFL.com compared Harris to former Bears/Bengals back Cedric Benson, noting Harris’ “no-nonsense” running style but identifying his lack of burst.
The Patriots already have a roster full of running backs with defined roles, including 2018 first-rounder Sony Michel, receiving back James White, and do-it-all Rex Burkhead. Harris will likely start out with a heavy role on special teams, but he could carve out a niche slot as the season progresses.
Here’s New England’s 2019 draft in full:
- 1-32: N’Keal Harry, WR (Arizona State)
- 2-45: JoeJuan Williams, CB (Vanderbilt)
- 3-77: Chase Winovich, DE (Michigan)
- 3-87: Damien Harris, RB (Alabama)
- 3-101: Yodny Cajuste, T (West Virginia)
- 4-118: Hjalte Froholdt, G ( Arkansas)
- 4-133: Jarrett Stidham, QB (Auburn)
- 5-159: Byron Cowart, DT (Maryland)
- 5-163: Jake Bailey, P (Stanford)
- 7-252: Ken Webster, CB (Ole Miss)
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.