New England Patriots QB Tom Brady has been working on his deep ball in recent years. Pro Football Focus named him the best Go Route passer in the league for 2016. The Patriots averaged the most passing yards per attempt on third down, too, a sign of increased aggression and success. He held one of the best passer ratings in the league on attempts 15+ yards down the field.
And now the Patriots are remodeling the offense with that skill set in mind. After Chris Hogan led the league in yards per reception and was named Pro Football Focus’ best Go Route receiver, the team acquired two burners in Brandin Cooks and Phillip Dorsett.
Cooks and Dorsett ran matching 4.33s 40 yard dashes at their respective combines. While the duo are smaller than Hogan- they’re both roughly 5’10, 190 pounds, versus Hogan’s 6’1, 210 pound frame- they’re both extremely dangerous deep ball receivers, with Dorsett recording a ridiculous 24 yards per catch in his final college season.
All three receivers can work in the slot and outside on the sideline. All three can take the top off of defenses. All three generate ridiculous amounts of separation from their defenders. All three know what to do to gain the most yards after the catch. SB Nation actually declared Dorsett the Colts’ breakout player of the year a couple days ago, too.
When Phillip Dorsett entered the draft, many actually compared him to Cooks, with Dorsett coming close behind Deion Branch for the best physical comparison to Cooks.
“Brandin Cooks 2.0, ladies and gentlemen,” RosterWatch noted. “Dorsett is an electric player in space, and has good strength for his size. His ability to separate is uncanny (not just vertically, but over the middle and on slant and crossing routes) and his hands are reliable. He can beat you deep, he can take a short pass the distance, and he can beat you in the red zone.”
BackyardBanter’s Matt Harmon agreed, calling Dorsett, “An even faster version of Brandin Cooks, but less air ability,” while PlayerProfiler linked the two as well. The difference is that Dorsett is nine months older than Cooks, and much less polished. Still, the obvious potential is there.
We know what Hogan was able to accomplish in his first year with the team and we think he’ll produce even more in year two, especially with Julian Edelman sidelined. Add in Cooks’ proven ability and Dorsett’s upside, and the Patriots are a threat to score on every single passing play.