New Patriots rookie ‘motivated’ by self-inflicted draft fall

New England Patriots, NFL News

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The Pats picked up a boom-or-bust player in wideout Kayshon Boutte, who is ready to prove all his haters wrong.

New England Patriots wide receiver Kayshon Boutte has fallen far down the pedestal.

Once hailed as a viable first-round pick, Boutte tumbled all the way to the sixth round and was selected by the Pats with the 187th selection. Boutte’s landslide could be attributed to a variety of factors from his ankle injury to coachability issues to work ethic concerns; in any case, he dropped down the board and was ultimately scooped up by New England.

Bill Belichick and Co. may yet be able to turn Boutte into a starting-caliber wideout in Year 1, and Boutte will also get a little extra motivation from the fact that so many other teams passed on him during the draft.

Boutte saying that he’s “probably” more motivated than ever doesn’t really help his case, as it would have been a much better look if he were more certain about his intentions. The effort is mostly there.

Pats WR Kayshon Boutte will enter 2023 with a massive chip on his shoulder

Characterized as primarily a slot guy, Boutte recorded 48 catches for 538 yards and two touchdowns in 11 games for LSU last season, an underwhelming stat line for someone who was once the second-ranked receiver in the 2020 recruiting class and hailed as the next Ja’Marr Chase.

Prior to the 2022 season, Boutte suffered an ankle injury which required two surgeries to heal; Boutte himself admitted he could have done “better” throughout the rehab process.

Boutte also didn’t test well at the combine and waded through a tough pre-draft process, turning himself from a potential first-rounder into a vague and unknown mystery.

The Pats decided to take the gamble on him, and their faith coupled with Boutte’s renewed motivation may get him back on track to becoming a promising receiver and valuable role-player. His rookie environment isn’t exactly ideal — he’ll be catching balls from either Mac Jones or Bailey Zappe, his best role model on the team is arguably JuJu Smith-Schuster, and he’ll be up against some lockdown defenses in the AFC East.

New England had four sixth-round picks to spare in this draft, so if Boutte turns out to be a bust, the team won’t shed too many tears. The NFL nonetheless represents a clean slate for players like Boutte who may have made errant choices in the past, and such opportunities should not be squandered.

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