Patriots Predicted to Draft Late-Round WR After DeMario Douglas Success

DeMario Douglas

Getty The New England Patriots are predicted to try and find another DeMario Douglas in Round 6 of the 2024 NFL draft.

Not much went right for the New England Patriots in 2023, but sixth-round pick wide receiver DeMario Douglas did prove a draft steal, a success the Patriots can repeat by selecting Bub Means 193rd overall in the 2024 NFL draft.

Means is one of two players predicted by Dane Brugler of The Athletic to come off the board in Round 6 for the Patriots. The Pittsburgh wideout is already familiar with Pats’ assistant wide receivers coach Tiquan Underwood.

Brugler described Means as “an impressive size/speed athlete with a ball-winning attitude. One of the reasons Means transferred to Pitt was his familiarity with former wide receivers coach Tiquan Underwood, who was recently hired by the Patriots. It’d be a fun story if they were reunited.”

The parallels to Douglas are obvious with this would-be pick. Douglas was the 210th player taken, but he earned a key role for an otherwise pedestrian passing game.

Finding playmaking receivers in the late rounds has been a franchise hallmark. Conjuring more of that magic can retool an offense desperately needing big plays through the air.

Bub Means a Favorite of Tiquan Underwood

Underwood played for the Pats in 2011, but was mercilessly cut the night before the 2012 Super Bowl. His working relationship with Means would give the rookie an excellent chance to make a greater impact.

The coach and player connection helped Means snag 41 catches for 721 yards and six touchdowns during his final season at Pitt. A more telling statistic showed Means averaged 17.6 yards per reception, per Sports Reference. His 6-foot-2, 204-pound frame would also give the Patriots a bigger body capable of stretching the field vertically on the outside.

Means showcased his deep threat by running a post route for this 75-yard touchdown against Virginia Tech, highlighted by Touchdown Wire’s Doug Farrar.

This sudden-strike capability has been missing from New England’s passing game for too long. It’s not something Douglas, nor veterans JuJu Smith-Schuster and Kendrick Bourne can provide.

First-year head coach Jerod Mayo needs more talent at the skill positions to support a core player like Douglas.

DeMario Douglas Continued Late-Round WR Trend

Douglas finished a prolific debut campaign with “the most receptions (49) and receiving yards (561) by a rookie wide receiver under former head coach Bill Belichick.”

The 25-year Belichick era featured two other game-breaking receivers who proved late-round draft steals. Troy Brown was an eighth-round find by Bill Parcells in 1993, but he became a featured receiver on Belichick’s watch. Brown won three Super Bowls under Belichick, a feat matched by 2009 seventh-rounder Julian Edelman.

Douglas has a ways to go to join such exalted company, but he’s made a great start. Evidenced by plays like this catch against the Washington Commanders, highlighted by Ben Brown of the QB List.

Douglas can get open at every level, but he does his best work from the slot. The 23-year-old played 274 snaps inside as a rookie, per Player Profiler.

Pairing Douglas with a legitimate threat on the perimeter, like Means, would bring balance to the passing game. New offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt needs more weapons, after only K.J. Osborn arrived in free agency and Smith-Schuster remains a trade candidate.

Unearthing a hidden gem like Douglas would justify the Patriots waiting again before addressing a key weakness.

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