June is officially here, and OTA's have begun in New England.
Next month the real fun starts as training camp will kick off, meaning the 2023 season will be just around the corner.
The Patriots find themselves missing a pivotal role in their offense with the departure of Jakobi Meyers. That being the slot wide receiver. Meyers filled the shoes of Julian Edelman nicely, but now once again, the slot is empty.
So who could be the next slot receiver for the Patriots?
1. Demario Douglas
The Patriots selected Demario Douglas in the sixth round of this year's draft. The former Liberty Flame stands at 5'8" but makes an impact bigger than his height. Each year he improved his skill set at Liberty, where his presence was felt. In his final season with the Flames, his receptions skyrocketed from 52 the previous season to 79, where he finished with just under 1,000 receiving yards. His specialty is speed. Bill O'Brien could have Douglas and speedster Tyquan Thornton lineup on opposite sides of the field and let them wreak havoc on opposing defenses.
Additionally, Douglas is a good return man, which could help him succeed in the slot receiver position.
With his small height, Douglas should be able to slip by defenders easily and make quick crossing routes in the middle of the field and use that breakaway speed he has shown off.
A receiver that runs a 4.4 40-yard dash is undoubtedly one to watch in the slot position.
2. JuJu Smith-Schuster
The other receiver who could be the next slot receiver is JuJu Smith-Schuster. JuJu is expected to compete for the number one receiver spot this summer at training camp. But, with receivers like Kendrick Bourne and DeVante Parker also in the mix, Bill O'Brien could get creative and put JuJu in the slot to line up with both Bourne and Parker.
JuJu is coming off of a Super Bowl season with the Kansas City Chiefs. Before that, he spent five seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he was the team's number-one receiver for most of his career.
JuJu's numbers in Kansas City were unsurprisingly down because of the number of playmakers in Kansas City. JuJu when healthy is a playmaker. Having a playmaker as a slot receiver will cause trouble for following defenses.
Although he's only broken 1000 receiving yards in a season once, having JuJu in the slot sets him up perfectly to have a monstrous breakout season for the first time since the 2018 season, where he eclipsed both 100 receptions and 1000 receiving yards in a season.
3. Who's more fit for the job?
Both Demario Douglas and JuJu Smith-Schuster are great candidates for being the next slot receiver. But, in the end, Demario Douglas would be the better option. Why? His size and speed. He can make quick plays in the middle of the field and be a ballhawk when necessary having multiple receptions in a row.