FOXBORO, Mass. — When Demario Douglas watches film with his fellow New England Patriots wide receivers, he doesn’t just see clips of himself, DeVante Parker, JuJu Smith-Schuster, etc.

Included in those cutups are highlights of some of the greatest wideouts in Patriots history. The Julian Edelmans. The Troy Brown. The Deion Branches.

Watching what made those Tom Brady-era stars successful has helped Douglas enjoy one of the best rookie seasons ever by a Patriots pass-catcher.

“Yeah, for sure,” Douglas said Wednesday when asked if he studies film of his Patriots predecessors. “It’ll be in the little clips. I’ll see Edelman, Troy, Deion. Some of the GOATs that have been through here. Watching them, it helped me with my game, also.”

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What has he learned from those highlights?

“Their routes,” Douglas explained. “How they run their routes. How they became successful. The little things that they do, how they come off the ball, stuff like that.”

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Douglas, a sixth-round draft pick out of Liberty, has 44 catches for 517 yards this season. That reception total is the highest of any rookie wideout in the Bill Belichick era — he overtook Branch on that list with his five-catch, 74-yard performance against Denver last Sunday night — and Douglas needs just 2 more receiving yards to break Aaron Dobson’s Belichick-era rookie record of 519.

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Despite missing three games due to concussions, Douglas could finish as high as second all-time among Patriots rookies in catches. Here’s where the 23-year-old slot receiver stands on that list with two games remaining:

1. Terry Glenn, 90 catches (1996)
2. Randy Vataha, 51 catches (1971)
3. Jim Colclough, 49 catches (1960)
4. Hart Lee Dykes, 49 catches (1989)
5. Vincent Brisby, 45 catches (1993)
6. Aaron Hernandez, 45 catches (2010)
7. Demario Douglas, 44 catches (2023)

Douglas also ranks 12th among Patriots rookies in receiving yards, though he has yet to score his first NFL touchdown.

“I’ve been working,” Douglas said. “When nobody sees, I’ve been working. Since before the draft process, I’ve been working hard. I feel like I have to work a little bit harder just because of my (5-foot-8) height and stuff, but I feel like it’s coming to be good — great.”

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Douglas will have two more opportunities to showcase his talents when the Patriots visit the Buffalo Bills this Sunday and then host the New York Jets in their season finale.

Featured image via Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports Images