To some, Demario Douglas is the other receiver. The one that’s not Kayshon Boutte. Not the receiver New England Patriots fans wanted drafted in the first or second round. The one that isn’t a physically imposing boundary target.
Douglas comes to New England with little fanfare. It happens when a region is desperate for a difference-maker receiver to catch up with the rest of the league.
One thing Douglas can do is help the Patriots catch up. He lives up to the Liberty Flames moniker and is a burner on the field. He plays bigger than his measurements and adds needed explosiveness to the Patriots offense.
Demario Douglas is a sleeper draft pick for the New England Patriots
Douglas is missing that “it” factor. On the surface, he doesn’t have that something for Patriots fans to get excited about. He’s another receiver drafted late in the draft, making Douglas one of several that probably has little chance at making the team.
Heck, Douglas wasn’t even the first late round receiver as the Patriots selected Boutte 23 picks before Douglas. Draft analysts hyped up the Boutte selection by saying Boutte could had been a first round pick if his LSU career took the next step after his freshman season.
Instead of what could had been, Douglas actually did improve year after year. He finished with more than 1,000 yards from scrimmage and seven offensive touchdowns. That includes five rushes for 105 yards and a score, showing more versatility than Boutte.
That doesn’t even include Douglas’ more than 700 yards and two touchdowns over four years as a returner.
If production doesn’t excite, maybe Douglas’ NFL Combine results opens some eyes. He out-performed Boutte in all but one drill.
If people want to blame Boutte working out on a recovering ankle for his poor combine performance, that’s fair. If the answer is look at Boutte’s tape to see the real him, then they should view Douglas’ highlights as well. Both showed great speed and dangerous run after catch ability.
Douglas’ elusiveness sure makes his 3-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle times unreliable. According to FTN Fantasy’s Jeremy Popielarz, Douglas had the seventh most forced missed tackles out of 123 receivers drafted over the past four years.
I’m not saying Boutte isn’t a player Patriots fans shouldn’t get excited about. I’m saying Boutte and Douglas have the traits to add much needed juice to New England’s receiver corps.
But are two sixth round receivers really worth getting excited about? It’s extremely rare for a late round receiver to become productive with the Patriots. It’s been a long time since David Givens played.
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It was no secret that I wanted the Patriots to draft a big, outside receiver. Whether it was targeting four prospects as fits to selecting Mississippi’s Jonathan Mingo in my New England Patriots mock draft.
Patriots reporters and analysts had their eyes on Boston College’s Zay Flowers or Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Both were first round selections.
Flowers and Smith-Njigba were deserving first rounders, but Douglas isn’t dramatically a lesser player. He’s faster than Smith-Njigba and is just a hair slower than Flowers.
And while Flowers practiced only once for the East West Shrine Bowl, Douglas was one of the surprises during the week of practices. Douglas was called one of the best players regardless of position by some scouts:
"“He stole the show during Shrine game practice week,” said one scout. “He proved that he can hang against physical press-man coverage, fighting through contact to make contest catches. He has that easy, sudden speed and acceleration. His route-running is impressive and he made creating separation look easy.”"
The New England Patriots coaching staff coached Douglas and the West team. That helps explain why the Patriots selected Douglas about two months later.
The chances of Douglas making the roster doesn’t seem high right now, but the practice squad is very possible. Tre Nixon faces a make-it-or-break-it training camp with Boutte and Douglas coming. Figure in Douglas’ return ability and his chances of staying in New England should increase.
The Patriots offense needs explosiveness and selected two receivers that can produce them. Once Douglas gets on the field during training camp, it shouldn’t take him long to show that he has “it.”