NFL Network analyst Peter Schrager gives his top ten breakout players for the upcoming NFL season every year. He hardly ever includes rookies on his list, but he has included a rookie this time around.
That rookie is New England Patriots wide receiver Demario Douglas. Not only is Douglas on the list, but he is also fifth, which is impressive considering he is a rookie.
Schrager listing Douglas is a huge win for the Patriots and Bill Belichick. Douglas being a true breakout player this season would be most important for Belichick, due to him being under fire for his drafting at the wide receiver position.
This offseason has featured a balance of positives/negatives at the position as Tyquan Thornton appears to be a bust after going on IR for the second straight year. However, the positives are that Douglas and Kayshon Boutte appear to be steals of the draft.
Between the two, it seems that Douglas has the best chance of being a star player.
In the video breakdown, Schrager mentions his nickname “Pop” and how he wears the number 81, reminding him of Antonio Brown. The fact that Douglas has a cool nickname gives him the swagger needed at the wide receiver position.
Also, Schrager mentions Douglas on this list is important because it shows that he is hearing good things from the Patriots organization. It’s been a rare occurrence in recent seasons where the Patriots think this highly of a young receiver.
Douglas being a breakout player is crucial to the Patriots' success in 2023 and beyond. With the veterans that the Patriots have in place, having a young receiver would be vital because it sets them up for the future. Also, Douglas could become a true go-to option for Mac Jones in the next few years.
Ultimately, it will be interesting to see if Douglas lives up to the hype this season and becomes a breakout player.