Arbella Early Edition

How Patriots can get most out of DeMario Douglas in 2024 season

Douglas is a strong candidate to have a breakout season in 2024.

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There weren't many positives from the New England Patriots' 2024 season on offense. This unit tied for the fewest points scored per game (13.9) in the NFL and the quarterback play from Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe was largely bad.

But one bright spot was the emergence of DeMario "Pop" Douglas.

The rookie wide receiver showed flashes of exciting potential. He tallied 49 receptions for 561 yards in 14 games. He was at his best in the second half of the season, catching at least five passes in five of his last eight contests.

You could make a case that Douglas is the team's most dynamic wideout. And it's up to the Patriots coaches -- specifically new offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt -- to find ways to maximize his skill set.

"The best player on the offense, the most unique player, and the one who you really want to try and get the ball to 120 times this year is DeMario Douglas," Tom E. Curran said Monday on NBC Sports Boston's Arbella Early Edition, as seen in the video player above.

"Best-case scenario is finding ways to get him the ball in space whether it's on jet sweeps, tear screens, however you can find a way to get him the football, you're doing it. And he should help the other players profit as well. That means it's on Alex Van Pelt to craft things that aren't just meat and potatoes, run the ball and use your tight ends."

Getting Douglas the ball in space is crucial.

This play from last season's Week 4 loss to the Dallas Cowboys is a good example of what he can do with the ball in his hands:

Douglas is absolutely electric in the open field, and he actually ranked third in the league in yards after catch (6.9) last season, among players with 40-plus receptions. He trailed only Deebo Samuel (8.8) and Rashee Rice (8.3).

The Patriots have a lot better depth at wide receiver in 2024 than they did entering last season, especially after drafting Ja'Lynn Polk (second round) and Javon Baker (fourth round) in April.

But it would behoove the Patriots to think of every way imaginable to get Douglas the ball. New England's offense is desperate for a high-end playmaker, and Douglas is the player most likely to fill that role next season.

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