Phillip Dorsett, who is coming off a four-catch, 95-yard, two-score game in Sunday night’s win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, refuses to be the lone man out in this stacked New England Patriots offense.
Assuming Antonio Brown will play moving forward, Dorsett likely slides to the team’s fourth receiver on the depth chart. With Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon and Brown constantly on defensive coordinators’ minds, however, the former first-round draft pick should be in a decent position to sneak behind defenses and make big plays with his speed.
That has never been easy for Dorsett, though. Despite his dependability and natural athleticism, Dorsett has always had to work for his opportunities. With the Patriots constantly bringing in wide receivers — especially over the last two years with Josh Gordon and Demaryius Thomas, drafting N’Keal Harry, signing undrafted rookie Jakobi Meyers and recently Brown — he’s always had strong competition around him.
Dorsett’s ability to play a simple game and be there when needed has helped him excel and grow into a key piece in the Patriots loaded receiving corps, however. It’s no secret that the 26-year-old catches just about everything thrown his way: He has caught his last 20 regular-season targets and currently holds the highest catch percentage for wide receivers in New England since 2001 at 73.9 percent.
Despite the addition of Antonio Brown, Dorsett has always been a receiver like Danny Amendola when it comes to his role on the team. Neither is going to wow you with insane speed laterally and in and out of routes, while they are somewhat limited in terms of what they can do and cannot be trusted to catch 60-plus balls or exceed 700 yards in receiving. However, both Dorsett and Amendola will provide you that security blanket when you need a big third-down conversion or a drive-starter.
Dorsett has consistently been seen as an outsider during his time in New England, but is always there when the Patriots need him. He caught some big passes last year when the Patriots were without Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon early on. He also had big touchdown receptions in the AFC’s divisional playoff round and the conference championship game in Kansas City.
The saying is always that when the going gets tough, Tom Brady finds No. 11 and No. 28. However, No. 13 is making a strong case himself to be there for the quarterback when he desperately needs it.