Could rookie Damien Harris be Patriots' goal-line back?


FOXBORO -- Even though running back Damien Harris was selected in the third round, he has the potential to be the Patriots' most impactful rookie.

Everyone knows how unpredictable Bill Belichick is when it comes to using his running backs and it could be a different player getting the most touches every week, but Harris' skill set could give him the edge over some of the other players in the backfield.

One of the running game aspects the Patriots struggled with last year was short-yardage, and that is where Harris comes in. The Alabama product was listed at 5-foot-10, 216 pounds at the combine, but he looks bigger now.

“I would say I’m in better shape," he said last week when asked about it.

Bulking up could give him an advantage at being the "power" back, as the team really doesn't have one. Sony Michel, James White and Rex Burkhead are more known for their speed opposed to ability to fight through the line.

Could that be the role for him this season?

“I think you’d have to ask Coach Belichick that, not me,” Harris said.

While it's early in training camp and Michel is still slowly working his way back from a knee injury, Harris has received a good amount of carries when the team has focused on goal-line work.

Whether it is goal-line work or something else, Harris is just looking to get better and do whatever he can to help the team.

"Every day I just come out here with the objective to get better," he said. "There's always areas to improve. Every single day I just want to come out here and be the best player that I can be -- learn as much as I can, be a sponge, learn from the older guys, the coaches. Any piece of knowledge I can get, that is what I am looking to do to help this team be successful."