Patriots rookie Demario Douglas is separating himself from the pack thus far throughout coaching camp


“I imagine I simply have to go on the market and present the coaches what I can do.”

New England Patriots wide receiver Demario Douglas (60) makes a catch during an NFL football practice, Friday, July 28, 2023, in Foxborough, Mass.
Demario Douglas has impressed thus far throughout Patriots coaching camp. (AP Picture/Michael Dwyer)

Demario Douglas doesn’t precisely stand out among the many swarm of Patriots gamers jogging out onto New England’s follow fields.

Clocking in at 5-foot-8 and 192 kilos, Douglas doesn’t measure as much as big-bodied wideouts like DeVante Parker (6-foot-3, 215 kilos). He’s not going to be tasked with doling out blocks, preventing via safeties and snagging contested catches on deep routes.

However when he’s out on the sector and will get in movement, it’s simple to see why the 2023 sixth-round decide is separating himself from the remainder of the pack at coaching camp.

Via the primary 4 full practices of coaching camp, Douglas has earned loads of first-team reps with Mac Jones and his projected group of weapons like JuJu Smith-Schuster, Hunter Henry, Parker and others.

Sunday’s follow marked one other main step ahead for the 22-year-old receiver out of Liberty College.

Throughout aggressive drills, Douglas led all pass-catchers with 4 receptions off of 5 targets. Alternating between the primary and second-team models, Douglas has constantly been in a position to separate himself from defenders due to an explosive first step and elite stop-and-start acceleration.

“I’ve been going with all people,” Douglas informed reporters of his early workload throughout camp. “Whoever I am going with I really feel like I’m gonna go on the market and do what I’ve to do …I imagine I simply have to go on the market and present the coaches what I can do.”

Rely Invoice Belichick amongst those that have been impressed with the rookie’s fast begin in camp.

“Douglas had a very good spring and he’s adopted it up with a number of couple good practices right here,” Belichick mentioned. “Once more, coaching camp is a marathon, it’s not a 100-yard sprint. So, simply hold grinding them collectively day after day. We’ve been within the pink space. We’ll transfer out into the sector after which we’ll get into third downs, begin placing all of it collectively.

“Pads haven’t been on but, in order that’s a part of the analysis for everyone, so we’ll see. All people has acquired a protracted option to go, however we’re making progress, guys are working laborious, you understand, we’re getting higher. So, we’ll see the place it goes.”

It received’t take very lengthy for Douglas to tackle the subsequent hurdle of coaching camp, because the pads are anticipated to be placed on Monday morning in what can be a full-contact session at Gillette Stadium.

Despite the fact that lots has been made about Douglas’ smaller body, he’s landed with the correct crew when it comes to using his fleet-footed skillset.

Whether or not or not it’s Troy Brown, Wes Welker, Julian Edelman, or others, the Patriots have diced up opposing defenses for years due to undersized — however extremely expert — receivers working out of the slot.

Douglas hopes to be the most recent addition to that established pipeline of expertise within the coming years.

“I’ve watched [Troy Brown],” Douglas mentioned. “[Wes] Welker — once they play highlights they’re those who was on there. I watch highlights and the whole lot that they do as a result of they was profitable. I have to see what they do to grow to be profitable.”

Past simply the anticipated challenges that await Douglas and any rookie seeking to regulate to the NFL ranks, the younger wideout additionally faces an uphill climb this season in terms of New England’s depth chart.

Already, receivers Smith-Schuster, Parker, Tyquan Thornton, and Kendrick Bourne sit forward of Douglas, with Smith-Schuster the seemingly starter out of the slot place.

However given his standing as a comparatively unheralded sixth-round choice, Douglas’ early seems to be with the primary unit provide indicators that the rookie isn’t removed from factoring into New England’s plans at wideout.

“I would like to have the ability to play anyplace, as a result of being versatile has all the time been in my sport,” Douglas mentioned. “I’m able to play wherever he needs me to play, particularly particular groups however anyplace. You may put me anyplace and I’m prepared to return play.”