2. Demario Douglas
Speaking of promising rookies, Douglas looks like a player worth hanging onto as well.
As an undersized (5'8, 190 pounds) sixth-round pick in the spring, Douglas came into this year needing to prove he belonged in the NFL. We all knew he had speed, but there are a lot of fast players around the league. Would it translate into tangible production?
So far, it has. Douglas hasn't done anything mind-blowing, but he's gradually improved and seems to be getting more comfortable with each passing week.
The 22-year-old wideout struggled a bit early on, losing a costly fumble in Week 2 that quickly put him in Belichick's doghouse. Douglas has worked his way out of it, however, and has emerged as an integral part of the offense.
Douglas' speed gives him big-play ability, which is something the Patriots' offense sorely lacks. He has 197 receiving yards on just 14 catches (14.1 yards per reception) and ripped off a 20-yard run in Week 7. Douglas has gotten some action as a punt returner, too, helping out on special teams.
Belichick loves versatile players who can contribute in multiple areas, and Douglas certainly fits the bill. Whether he's running the ball, catching it or returning it, he's someone who can shake defenders with his agility and pick up big chunks of yardage.
Not bad for a sixth-round pick.