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This is the eighth edition of this summer series. Other players covered:
Deep Dynasty Stashes: Malik Davis
Deep Dynasty Stashes: Nyheim Hines
Deep Dynasty Stashes: Jeremy Ruckert
Deep Dynasty Stashes: Jeff Wilson
Deep Dynasty Stashes: Trayveon Williams
Deep Dynasty Stashes: Tyrion Davis-Price
Deep Dynasty Stashes: Trey Sermon
Undersized. Small school. Two-way player. Special teams contributor. Bill Belichick dreams of players like Demario Douglas. The rookie from Liberty is turning heads early for the Patriots.
Belichick had glowing praise for Douglas: "He's a smart kid. He picks things up well, learns quickly, so all things that work in his favor." Anyone who has followed Belichick for any length of time knows the weight of the coach giving a rookie compliments on his intelligence before his first season starts.
The Patriot's preseason opener was an excellent sign for Douglas. He played three snaps, fair catching a punt and drawing no targets. On the surface, a nothing burger. But peeling back the layers of the preseason reveal more. The Patriots held out their starting trio of receivers: DeVante Parker, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Kendrick Bourne, in addition to the rest of their starting offense. Douglas making a cameo appearance is a great indication of growing importance within the offense.
That trio inspires hope for Douglas. None of them have a fantasy-relevant season since Parker's 1,202-yard, nine-touchdown performance in 2019. Smith-Schuster's breakout happened in 2018 before any of us were disappointed by the ending of Game of Thrones. The Patriots desperately need young hope at the receiver position. Can Douglas deliver?
Douglas's size as a prospect (5'8", 165 lbs) narrowed his options. A zero-star prospect, he fielded offers from his home Tampa Bay area before deciding on Liberty. The decision paid off. At Liberty, he connected with coach Hugh Freeze and quarterback Malik Willis, serving as Willis's leading receiver in 2021 and the offensive focal point his last season in 2022.
Douglas's background is not limited to receiver. He moved between running back and receiver in high school while flipping to defensive back occasionally. In college, those natural skills also translated to the return game, relying on that diversity to make the Paul Hornung Watch List, an award given to the most versatile player in the country.
The most similar comparison in New England may not even be in the receiver room. Defensive back Marcus Jones, the 2021 Hornung winner, made an immediate impact as a rookie in 2022, leading the NFL in punt return yards, working into the defensive back rotation, and pitching in at receiver. The camp has seen Jones and Douglas square off one on one, leading Jones to level praise on the rookie, citing his quickness and ability to maintain speed through breaks as a differentiator for Douglas.
Add it up, and despite potential size limitations, Douglas is a player who understands football and impacts the game, which is precisely what Belichick is looking to feature.
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