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Oklahoma pipeline may intrigue Patriots again

A trio of Oklahoma draft prospects had high praise for former teammates Rhamondre Stevenson and Ronnie Perkins.

Oklahoma offensive lineman Marquis Hayes (54).
Oklahoma offensive lineman Marquis Hayes (54).

The Patriots took two Oklahoma players in last year's draft and could look to tap the pipeline again as the 2022 draft again features a number of talented Sooners.

On Thursday, two offensive line prospects and one running back from Oklahoma spoke fondly of their former teammates Rhamondre Stevenson and Ronnie Perkins, and expressed their excitement to now be following in their footsteps.

"It was great, I blocked for him last year before he got drafted," said Oklahoma guard Marquis Hayes of seeing Stevenson's transition to the pros. "You can't take him down. So it was great to see him transform into the league.

"He's a great player. Big back, third-down back but he can do more than third down."

Stevenson immediately burst onto the scene in the preseason, ripping off a 91-yard touchdown against Washington, en route to rushing for 606 yards and five touchdowns with an impressive 4.6 yards-per-attempt, while also registering 14 receptions.

"That's my dog, watching him dominate the league like that, it was pretty cool," said fellow running back Kennedy Brooks, who posted over 3,300 rushing yards in three seasons in Norman. "Literally two years ago I was playing with him, now he's in the league. That's pretty cool. Now I'm in the same boat and I can't wait to experience it with him."

"It was special, Mondre, we always knew he had that talent," offensive lineman Tyrese Robinson said. "Just for him to go out there, all the opportunities he had to get on the field, the way he succeeded out there on the field, it was special. It's going to leave him better for next year."

While Ronnie Perkins experienced mostly a redshirt season after battling injuries through his rookie year and didn't see the same kind of experience that Stevenson did, his former teammates remained high on his potential.

"Ronnie Perkins is a different breed," said Hayes. "He's got the versatility to go inside, outside and through you, he's a great guy.

"Ronnie, he's a great cat, I blocked against him, he's got that dog in him," said Robinson. "We used to go at it, especially when I moved to tackle. He's a great dude on and off the field, they both are."

With needs at running back and along the line, all three of Thursday's Oklahoma prospects could intrigue the Patriots, with advice from Stevenson and Perkins helping them along the process.

"They just said, just be you throughout the process," said Robinson. "That's what they're focused on. Just be yourself, enjoy it. You dreamt about being here your whole life and now you're here."

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