Pierre Strong Jr. was one of the best athletes among his position tested at this year's NFL Combine, and that along with stellar college production made him a fourth round pick in April's NFL Draft.

Earlier this week, the rookie put pen to paper with his new team, the New England Patriots, officially joining the team on a 4 year, 4.37 million dollar contract.

Strong Jr. will face stiff competition for playing time on offense, as the Patriots, who are known for their 'by committee' approaches, having three other capable backs already on the roster.

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New England Patriots v Miami Dolphins
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Rhamondre Stevenson, James White, and Damien Harris all return to the roster in New England, as the Patriots showcase one of the deepest running back rooms in the league.

Last season, the team was led by Harris' 929 rushing yards and 15 scores. Stevenson, a rookie last season, was also heavily involved, tallying 606 yards on the ground with 5 touchdowns.

Strong Jr. enters the crowded backfield after an impressive and productive career at South Dakota State. Last season with the Jacks, Strong Jr. exploded for 1,686 rushing yards, 18 touchdowns, and averaged an even 7 yards per carry.

The explosiveness carried over for the Little Rock, Arkansas native to the combine this Spring. At the combine, Strong ran a 4.37 40 yard dash, and posted top-tier times in the agility drills as well.

We'll see how future Hall of Fame Head Coach Bill Belichick employs the rookie this season, but rest assured there will be a role for the speedster from SDSU moving forward in Foxboro.

It may be special teams at first, but look for Strong Jr. to be in the mix throughout the season in the deep Patriots backfield as well.

South Dakota State v Minnesota
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Sources: Sports Illustrated and GoJacks.com (Stats)

South Dakota Born NFL Players of this Century

While not a traditional powerhouse Nation Football League feeder, South Dakota has produces a fair number of football players that went on to the big time in the NFL.

Here are some that have played on various teams over the last couple of decades.