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What to Make of Patriots' Newest Receivers Kayshon Boutte and Demario Douglass

Much later than most would have liked or expected, but Bill Belichick did secure not one but two receivers in round six of this year's NFL draft. By that point in the draft, I had mentioned that I would take a flyer on LSU's Kayshon Boutte, and sure enough, those in the Patriots draft room clearly had my Twitter feed zeroed in, as they selected him not even 20 minutes later. Not too far after that the Patriots then picked up Liberty's Demario Douglas at pick 210.

Boutte is certainly the more intriguing of the two wideouts here. Going into this most recent college season, he was considered a consensus top-three receiver, and at worst an early second-round pick in this draft class despite a major ankle injury in 2021. A dip in production last year, some preseason clashes with head coach Brian Kelly, unconfirmed reports that he was outright dismissed from LSU due to some off-the-field conduct the week of the SEC title game, and a less-than-stellar combine, all led to that projection going to the wayside. But taking a flyer on Boutte that late in the draft has some high-reward potential.

Now onto Douglas, who despite standing at 5'8 and weighing just under 180 pounds, proved to be a quality contributor for Liberty over his final two seasons. Picking up 12 touchdowns and 1694 yards on 131 catches, and additionally brings a wealth of kick/punt return reps with him, being voted as an All-American punt returner as a freshman by the FWAA. Not a pressing need with this team given Marcus Jones is here, but always nice to have options. His old coach Hugh Freeze recently gave him some high praise when talking to ESPN regarding his work as a wideout though.

"[Douglas] could play for me right now at Auburn and start for us. He is the best, most quick-twitched kid at getting in and out of breaks that I’ve ever coached." - Hugh Freeze

Other Patriots' Prospect Breakdowns:

Kayshon Boutee Bio

School: Lousiana State

Number: 7 (Formerly No. 1)

Height-Weight: 5'11.2 and 195 lbs

Age: 21 (Birthday is May 7)

RAS Score:

Kayshon Boutte Patriots RAS

It's worth noting that Boutte's ankle injury in the 2021 season, which required a second surgery in early/mid-2022 due to it not healing properly. Based on those drill scores you'd guess that played some form of factor but Boutte wasn't willing to use that as an excuse.

Prospect Big Board Rankings (Selected 187th overall)

Daniel Jeremiah (NFL Network): N/A (Top 150 players only)

Dan Brugler (The Athletic): N/A (Top 100 players only)

JP Acosta (SB Nation): N/A (Top 200 players only)

Charles McDonald (Yahoo Sports): 99th

Draft Network: 65th

Pro Football Focus: 131st

My Knee Jerk Pick Grade on the Day of the Selection: A-

Kayshon Boutte Film Review

Games Watched: vs. Alabama (2020), vs. Ole Miss (2020), vs. UCLA (2021), vs. Auburn (2021), vs. Florida State (2022), vs Georgia (2022 SEC Championship Game)

Didn't take me too long into that Alabama game to figure out what my initial vibe on Boutte was. He displayed electric footwork at the LOS against press man, some competitive toughness in the pass and run game, and some good long and open field speed. A good example of his competitive toughness would be Boutte making a key closeout block to secure a long-rushing TD early in the second quarter. Additionally, Boutte came up with a big grab over the middle with Bama safety DeMarco Hellmans coming right down the pike. The one negative I had for him here would be that he 100 percent fumbled the ball on his 44-yard touchdown before he broke the plane. It wasn't called in-game so he got lucky, but that cannot happen at any level. Boutte was also exclusively an outside receiver here as well.

Next up was Boutte's signature game as an LSU Tiger, a 14 grab, 308 yard, three touchdown day against Ole Miss. You want to talk about the textbook definition of having an entire SEC defense in the depths of hell, this is exactly that. The thing that impressed me the most here was that a ton of the damage Boutte caused was either A) after the catch while forcing missed tackles, or B) inside the numbers. Just an absolute menace when he's given space and time to work.

In the 2021 slate, we got to see Boutte start to get some notable reps in the slot, which wasn't the case in the two games the year prior. Wasnt much of a producer in the snaps he spent there against UCLA, but worth noting all the same. Outside of a couple of drops, Boutte did make a 1000 IQ play by working his corner into a referee on an in-route as a pick which led to him getting the easiest 44-yard touchdown I've seen in some time. Against Auburn some weeks later, Boutte showed off some great ball tracking on what ended up not being a catch on a broken play, but nice to see him show that off.

When I got to the Florida State game, the biggest thing I was looking for was how much effort was Boutte giving despite a very limited target share. The memes were flying that he was going to hit the transfer portal right after this game ended, and I mean, right after this game by the way. What I can say is this, effort was not an issue here, drops were. On the first drive of the game, Boutte dropped a would-be touchdown at the last second, then went on to have several other drops here. To his defense, one was on a play where had Jayden Daniels not pump faked out of going to him initially, he 100 percent scores from 25-ish yards out.

In his final game against Georgia, you saw some of the breakaway speed from years prior with Boutte on his spectacular 53-yard touchdown, making several Bulldog defenders miss along the way. To the naked eye, he looked a bit slower in the two 2022 games than in the rest, but not drastically. Boutte also showed off his ability to change gears pretty quickly in general but sometimes spent too much time in gears one and two which led to some missed opportunities. Not a perfect set of games, but you can see why he was highly regarded going into last season.

Positive Takeaways:

- YAC monster. Is extremely hard to stop in the open field with his combination of speed and elusiveness.

- Demonstrates the ability to change speeds at will. Uses that to destroy soft spots in zone coverage/over the middle.

- Elite footwork at the line of scrimmage/release package.

- Has experience at all three receiver spots.

- Shows willingness and ability as a blocker.

Negative Takeaways:

- Lacks polish as a route runner. Rounded routes appeared with regularity throughout his college career.

- Inconsistent hands in general, but especially struggled in contested catch situations.

- Top-end speed took a slight hit after his ankle injury in 2021.

- Size could limit his snaps on the boundary.

Final Thoughts

Even with the flaws and injuries, it's easy to see why Boutte was as highly regarded as he was. His ability after the catch is as good as any wideout that got picked this year and has some good play speed. The drops and route running do concern be a good deal, so on top of the fact he was a sixth-round pick, don't expect him to be an immediate impact guy barring anything drastic in the next few months.

Now as far as any character and coachability concerns go, LSU Head Coach Brian Kelly has been wishy-washy when talking about Boutte over the last 13 months, but someone's word I feel inclined to trust would be someone else connected to Boutte via LSU, one Patriots' Hall of Famer Kevin Faulk. Here's what he said to Karen Gurigen just shy of a month ago.

“All I can tell you is I don’t know where that came from. Because when I was with that kid, he was very coachable,” Faulk told Guregian. “When you say a kid’s not coachable, that means a coach can’t relate to who the kid is as a player. That’s all that is to me.”

I'm not going to sit here and say it was Brian Kelly who leaked that out, but he willingly took the Notre Dame job as a Massachusetts native and gained a southern dialect the moment he got to LSU so my antenna is up out of principle. Here's what Boutte himself had to say when he was introduced formally as a Patriot in late April.

"I would say that I want everyone to know that I am a hard worker and that I'm going to give 100%. I feel like I have been doubted a lot, I feel like it's time for me to prove that I'm not that same person."

So in short, if Boutte can find the magic he had in his first 20 or so games at LSU, this has some real draft heist potential. Has things he certainly needs to get better at, and key things at that, but there's some serious upside here. And if you are wondering, yes, I do think Boutte, and Douglas for that matter, both make the final roster, pending any sort of further addition to the receiver room of course.

Kayshon Boutte Draft Pick Grade: A-

Kayshon Boutte Year One Projection: Depth Z/Slot Reciever.

Demario Douglas Bio

School: Liberty

Number: 3 (Formerly No. 9)

Height-Weight: 5'8.2 and 179 lbs

Age: 22 (Birthday is December 8)

RAS Score:

Demario Douglas Patriots RAS

Prospect Big Board Rankings (Selected 210th overall)

Daniel Jeremiah (NFL Network): N/A (Top 150 players only)

Dan Brugler (The Athletic): N/A (Top 100 players only)

JP Acosta (SB Nation): N/A (Top 200 players only)

Charles McDonald (Yahoo Sports): 99th (Top 100 players only)

Draft Network: 317th

Pro Football Focus: N/A (Top 200 players only)

My Knee Jerk Pick Grade on the Day of the Selection: B

Demario Douglas Film Review

Games Watched: vs. Middle Tennessee State (2021), vs. Arkansas (2022), vs. Wake Forest (2022), vs. BYU (2022), vs. Virginia Tech (2022)

Quick side note to kick things off here, red uniforms with blue pants should be outlawed at all levels of football effective immediately. Just an absolutely horrendous look for Liberty on all fronts. Now as stated, one of the problems with Boutte was his inconsistent hands. I can report that Douglas has some incredibly good mits on him from all of these games. Douglas' 4.4 speed also showed up in the Middle Tennessee tilt as he showed off the ability to win vertically multiple times, including off script.

In the four 2022 games, you see Douglas get used as more than just a slot guy, being used pretty frequently on the outside, and in the backfield, both set and in motion as well. Also happy to report that the Hugh Freeze quote about in and out of breaks holds up, Douglas is just a good route runner in general too which is fantastic. A few zig routes popped up where he just made cornerbacks look silly. Also, while I wouldn't call Douglas a YAC specialist based on the game film if you get him in the right situation he can certainly extend plays with no issues. And as far as highlighting real plays go, Douglas has you covered there as well, just watch this grab against Wake Forest.

With all of this said, Douglas' size does concern me. He weighed in at 179 lbs in the pre-draft process and you can count the number of wideouts that weigh under 180 lbs with both hands and that isn't by accident. I don't believe play strength was much of an issue for Douglas, but playing at where he was at Liberty against box defenders as a professional is begging for trouble. I do not doubt that he's going to bulk up by late August, but that's something to monitor.

Positive Takeaways:

- Extremely sure hands despite bottom 10th percentile hand size.

- Can threaten every level of a defense from the slot with combination of speed and route-running ability.

- Good with his feet, doesn't waste much motion.

- Can line up anywhere you need him to, including out of the backfield.

- Has experience as a kick returner.

Negative Takeaways:

- Size is a real issue. Height, weight, hand size, and arm length all rank in the 10th percentile or worse.

- Needs to pack on some additional weight to deal with NFL-level defenders over the middle and deal with press coverage.

- Muffed punts are a documented issue.

Final Thoughts

I didn't expect to hold this opinion at the end of this ordeal, but I came away liking Douglas more than Boutte. His hands are as good as gold and he feels like he should acclimate to a Patriots-style offense nicely. I listened to Taylor Kyles on the CLNS Patriots Press Pass from the day of the pick, and he threw Douglas into a group of guys that were "Zay Flowers-lites", which included Josh Downs, Tyler Scott, and Marvin Mims. And funny enough, those three were three out of the four closest players to him in terms of the measurable percentiles. By Zay Flowers-lites Kyles meant that they are guys that are fast, shifty, good after the catch, and play bigger than their size would dictate.

I also want to mention something that Greg Bedard also pointed out, which is an idea that I am now all-in on. That is the concept of Douglas filling into the Marcus Jones role on offense. Just give that package of however so many plays, get the ball in his hands, and let him take care of the rest. He did a good job of that in the snaps he got at Liberty and that could translate to the Patriots no problem. I definitely think that is something that they would entertain, if not right away then perhaps as the season moves along. Either way, Douglas has all the making of a quality contributor out of the slot in the NFL, it's just on him to put in the work in these next few months.

Demario Douglas Draft Pick Grade: A

Demario Douglas Year One Projection: Depth Slot Reciever. Possible Marcus Jones Offensive Package Role.

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