Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports

Phillip Dorsett could be sleeper to fill void with Julian Edelman suspended 4 games

Ryan Hannable
July 27, 2018 - 4:03 pm

FOXBORO -- In 15 games with the Patriots last year, Phillip Dorsett caught just 12 passes for 194 yards. That will likely change in a big way this year.

The former first-round pick was traded to the Patriots from the Colts at the end of the summer last year in exchange for Jacoby Brissett, which immediately put him at a disadvantage because he was behind on the playbook. Also, he was behind highly skilled receivers on the depth chart. 

Now, with almost a full season and an entire offseason under his belt, Dorsett feels much more comfortable with the system.

“It feels a lot better. I’m just lightyears past where I was last year when it comes to just knowing the playbook, knowing what to do,” Dorsett said. “I feel comfortable at every position. I still got a lot of work to do when it comes to — this is just Day 2. We got a lot more days to go, but I’m feeling better every day.” 

Last year, Dorsett was exclusively used as a deep receiver on the outside. Through two practices this summer, he's been used more out of the slot.

This could be one of two things. One, the team doesn't have Julian Edelman for the first four games and Danny Amendola at all. And two, he's more experienced with the system so more can be put on his plate.

“It was something I’ve always known how to do,” Dorsett said of playing in the slot. “Certain coaches put you outside because of the speed. They want you to run to get vertical, run vertical because you’re fast, but when you have a whole toolbox when you can go inside and out, it makes you a better player."

Dorsett has also spent time off to the side with Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Chris Hogan and James White in the first two sessions -- a good sign for the second year Patriot.

“It’s extra work that everybody needs, and I’m just grateful I can get it,” Dorsett said. “Even if I wasn’t able to get pulled aside, I’d do it anyway, because that’s just the kind of guy I am.” 

The offense will need a few wide outs to step up over the first four weeks with Edelman out of the picture and most have been pointing to Jordan Matthews and the running backs, but don't sleep on Dorsett. 

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