Less than a week after Tom Brady made his exit and signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers official, the New England Patriots lost another valuable member of their offense. However, the team may have already plugged the hole left by the departure.
Phillip Dorsett Signs With Seattle Seahawks
On Tuesday, free-agent WR Phillip Dorsett inked a one-year deal with the Seattle Seahawks. Dorsett will provide Russell Wilson another weapon in the passing game to go with the uber-athletic D.K. Metcalf and the explosive Tyler Lockett.
What Phillip Dorsett Brought to Patriots Offense
In a word: speed. Dorsett ran a blazing fast 4.33 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine in 2015 when the Indianapolis Colts drafted him 29th overall out of the University of Miami. While Dorsett only averaged 24 receptions a season over the three years he spent with the Patriots, his speed was key in stretching the field and giving his teammates room to operate underneath.
Dorsett’s big-play ability was on display in 2019 when he was the recipient of his season-long 59-yard reception from Tom Brady against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1. Here is an excellent video that shows every touch Dorsett had last season:
Dorsett wasn’t the Patriots best receiver all season, but he had a definitive role that the 2020 Patriots will need to fill. Perhaps they just signed the man who is capable of filling the void.
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Don’t Sleep on Damiere Byrd as a Potential Replacement for Dorsett
Last week, the Patriots made a relatively under-the-radar signing of former Carolina Panthers and Arizona Cardinals receiver Damiere Byrd. Without question, Byrd has the jets to stretch a defense almost as well as anyone in the league.
He is one inch shorter than Dorsett at 5’9″ and not as experienced on offense, with a ton of his playing time coming on special teams, but when Byrd has had an opportunity to make plays in the passing game, he has delivered.
Here is a short clip of some of his plays in the receiving game:
In 2019, Byrd’s production was comparable to Dorsett’s and so is his age. Both men are 27 years old. Byrd played with rookie QB Kyler Murray throwing him the ball still had 32 receptions for 359 yards and a TD.
If last season was the beginning of Byrd coming into his own as a receiver, the Patriots may have acquired his services at the right time.
The Patriots Could Also Look to the Draft to Add Speed at WR
In my recent mock draft, I have the Patriots taking Kentucky WR Lynn Bowden, and Navy’s Malcolm Perry to add depth, assuming they would make the team. If you’re looking for a more dynamic selection, the Patriots could sacrifice one of its three third-round picks to trade up from the No. 23 spot into the top 15 to take Alabama speedster Henry Ruggs III.
Ruggs is much more than a speed guy. He looks like the kind of receiver who could potentially evolve into a Pro Bowl performer. If the Patriots like him enough to give up a third and perhaps another late-round pick, they could probably get into position to select him.