Newly acquired Patriots wide receiver Phillip Dorsett is a guy I broke down when he was coming out of college. He wasn't very big at 5'10 and 185 pounds, but he was explosive as hell. The thing that I noted in that breakdown was that his college coaches at Miami just didn't seem to get the ball in his hands nearly enough. He had the kind of talent that you normally want to feed, but they didn't even seem to make an attempt to do so.
That made his evaluation really frustrating because when he did get opportunities he made plays. I mean the guy averaged over 24 yards a reception, which is fucking insane at any level of football. He had 10 touchdowns on just 40 catches which was also absurd. Because of all that untapped potential, I figured Dorsett's best days would be ahead of him in the NFL where teams were more likely to actually throw him the ball.
That hasn't quite been the case so far in his first two seasons in the league.
His rookie year he got off to a slow start. He missed five games in the regular season, didn't have any starts, only caught 18 balls, and averaged a paltry 12.5 yards per catch to go with one touchdown. Not exactly what Indianapolis expected when it took him in the first round.
Last season he bounced back a little bit and played in all but one game with seven starts. His statistics also picked up a bit with 33 catches and a 16.5 yards per catch average to go with two touchdowns. Not bad for a number three wide receiver, but again, I'm sure the Colts didn't envision him as a number three receiver when they selected him.
Dorsett wasn’t the only problem with the Colts offense in the last couple of years. Their offensive line seemed to suck every season, and their franchise quarterback Andrew Luck has been banged up quite a bit too. Heading into this season Luck is coming off shoulder surgery. The word is that he should be healthy early in the season and that the offensive line should be one of the best in recent memory, at least on paper. If Luck is in fact healthy and his line protects him better, that could help everyone else on offense perform better, but Dorsett will try to capitalize on his athleticism in New England.
After he was traded to the Patriots for backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett, he’s on a team that has other deep threats like Brandin Cooks and Chris Hogan. Tom Brady could be the one to realize the potential that made Dorsett a first-round pick two years ago.
His third year was always when I expected Dorsett to break out. I didn't expect his production his first two years to be quite that low. His athleticism and ability jumped off the screen, but it was readily apparent that he need some polishing on his route running and other nuances of playing the receiver position. Now that he has gotten his feet wet, I think its time for Dorsett to really take off.
Watch his film and he does have some drops, but I think the Patriots would do well to get him the ball out in space a little more because he is faaaaaassssst and he knows how to make it happen with the ball in his hands. Dorsett still has to get better at catching the ball downfield, and I think he will.
If he can stay healthy this year, I not only expect his numbers to take a step forward, I would expect them to skyrocket.
The playmaking ability is there. If he picks up the playbook quick in New England, the stage is set for Phillip Dorsett to have a big year opposite Cooks. That's why he's my pick to be a breakout player in 2017.