Ross Douglas is in his second year on the Patriots’ coaching staff. A linebacker and running back in college at Michigan and Rutgers, Douglas spent time on the Rutgers and Richmond coaching staffs as a secondary coach before joining the Patriots as a defensive assistant in 2021.
Yet this offseason, he seems to be focused more on the offensive side of the ball – specifically wide receivers. Douglas was nearby throughout George Pickens’ workout at the Georgia Pro Day, then reportedly helped run the workouts at the Penn State Pro Day, which featured potential first-round pick Jahan Dotson.
That trend continued at the Boise State Pro Day on Wednesday. While many top Patriots staffers including Bill Belichick attended the Alabama Pro Day in Tuscaloosa, Douglas was on the complete other end of the country. At the Boise workout, Douglas (who was incorrectly identified as Patriots wide receivers coach Troy Brown in the report by Jay Tust of KTVB) was one of two coaches to work hands on with the Broncos’ lone projected draft pick Khalil Shakir.
Shakir is currently expected to be a Day 2 pick, and would check a lot of boxes for the Patriots. He’s a ‘big slot’ receiver at 6-foot, 196 pounds, with sure hands and an ability to break big plays after the catch. That ability with the ball in his hands also allows him to contribute as a returner. Boise State also had a package featuring him as a running back.
2021 was Shakir’s breakout year. He caught 77 passes for 1,117 yards and seven touchdowns in 12 games, while carrying the ball 21 times for another 130 yards. Meanwhile, he averaged 12.8 yards per punt return on nine returns. Following the season, he was named to the All-Mountain West First Team as a receiver.
At the Combine, Shakir ran a 4.43 second 40, and finished third among receivers with a 4.21 second 40. While he didn’t run the 40 again at his Pro Day, he did add four inches to his vertical, going from 34.5 inches to 38.5 inches – which would have tied for the sixth-best number among receivers at the Combine.
Wednesday’s Pro Day isn’t the first time the Patriots have shown interest in Shakir. In an interview earlier this month, Shakir told Justin Melo of The Draft Network he met with all 32 teams between the Senior Bowl and Combine.
There was one other receiver working out at Boise State’s Pro Day. Octavius Evans is another short to intermediate threat who can lineup in the slot and outside the formation at 6-foot-1, 210 pounds. Injuries saw him play sparingly his first four years in Boise, but he appeared in 10 games in 2021 catching 34 passes for 409 yards and two touchdowns – he also added a touchdown on the ground. He’s currently projected to go undrafted.
Patriots draft preview: Wide receivers
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.