NFL Films producer believes the Patriots may have found their own Stefon Diggs
Other than the Patriots' first-round pick in this year's draft drawing overwhelming excitement, it appears that one of their sixth-round wide receivers is garnering just as much enthusiasm, if not more, over the last few weeks.
A one-time first-round projected wide receiver, Kayshon Boutte has been the talk of the town since the third day of the NFL draft. He was quickly named one of the steals of the weekend, falling to the sixth round after an underwhelming 2022 season at LSU.
But his impressive tape has made fans and media members optimistic about his position on the team.
The Patriots have needed more offensive help, particularly an explosive pass-catching weapon that would make opposing defenses' jobs far more difficult. It was assumed Bill Belichick would select one of the higher-ranked receivers early in the draft, but the head coach instead decided to address other needs for much of the draft, waiting to take any help for Mac Jones until round six.
Boutte's selection at pick 187 was immediately hyped around New England. He may not have been what most were hoping for, but he has the potential to be that and much more.
And the hype over the last month has continued, with the latest praise coming from NFL Films senior producer ESPN’s “NFL Matchup” analyst Greg Cosell.
While appearing on a recent episode of "Inside the Birds" podcast last week, Cosell discussed what he sees in the Patriots' rookie, citing similarities to Buffalo Bills' top wideout Stefon Diggs.
"He kind of reminded me, if he were to reach a ceiling, and that’s kind of the way I always think this, I think, okay, this guy has certain traits that if he can play to those traits all the time, I thought there’s a Stefon Diggs comparison to be made. People are going to go, ‘Oh my god, you’re nuts.’ Keep in mind, Diggs came out of Maryland as a fifth-round pick and the 146th player chosen in the draft.
That’s what I was comparing him to, not Stefon Diggs in the last number of years as arguably a top-five receiver in the NFL. No one thought that of Diggs when he was a fifth-round pick and 146th player chosen. So Boutte, to me, is a fascinating player."
Of course, initial reactions to this assessment may receive the exact response Cosell describes, especially when looking at the production Diggs has consistently had throughout his eight years in the NFL. However, Cosell's words may carry more weight than a typical NFL analyst, as his job is spent watching film, making his comparison even more intriguing.
Boutte certainly has a lot to live up to, not just because of this comparison but also to his own performance during the 2021 season. There's a reason he was once deemed a first-round talent and likely the best receiver of the class. But, unfortunately, injuries and coaching changes severely impacted his production, thus leading to a massive fall come the draft.
Regardless if he will ever become anything resembling Diggs, the most significant part of Cosell's assessment is a reminder that where a player is drafted does not indicate how good they are or could be in the league; Patriots fans know that better than anyone.
But, the idea that New England may have found themselves a legitimate explosive weapon in general, but especially one late in the draft, is exciting enough to anxiously await the start of training camp next month.