The New England Patriots passing game was impressive in 2021, especially considering the fact that they had a rookie quarterback and one pass catcher is receiving praise for how well he has done in New England.
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“With a career high of 74 targets, Bourne has fallen well short of the 100-catch and 1,000-yard benchmarks that earn receivers the most attention,” Spratt stated. “But not even Cooper Kupp or Davante Adams could match Bourne for efficiency last season.
“The Patriots receiver led his position (minimum 50 targets) with a 30.1% receiving DVOA. And he ranked in the top 12 at the position with both a 7.0 receiving plus/minus — which estimates that he caught seven more passes than an average receiver with his distribution of targets — and 7.0 average yards after the catch.”
Bourne is currently on a three-year-deal worth a relatively measly $15 million. In his first season with the Patriots, he led New England’s wide receiver group in touchdowns (5) and had a career-high 55 receptions for 800 yards.
What Has Bourne Said About Mac Jones?
With a career-high in targets, it’s clear that Bourne and Jones have some solid chemistry. Patriots fans will be hoping that continues in 2022.
Bourne noted that when it comes to leadership, Jones has taken a step forward this offseason.
“It’s just at another level now,” Bourne told ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “He’s more comfortable, more confident. He knows what’s going on, and the muscle memory is there [from having gone through it] — OTAs, then camp, and the season. He’s just more locked in, more secure in his position.
“He connects with all the players really well. I’m proud of that dude, because it’s not easy,” said Bourne. “Going into his second year after having a year like that, it’s going to be a challenge, but he’s a guy that likes challenges, like all of us in that Patriot building.”
What Should Patriots Fans Expect From Bourne in 2022?
2022 will be an interesting season for Bourne. While he seems poised for another successful season, Bourne will have some competition.
New England brought in DeVante Parker who will likely be the Patriots top wide receiver. Now that Parker is in New England, he is the only wide receiver on the roster to have ever eclipsed 1,000 yards in a season.
The Patriots also drafted Tyquan Thornton in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft. While it might take the wide receiver out of Baylor some time to adjust to the NFL, New England will want to utilize Thornton relatively soon.
Finally, the Patriots have two talented tight ends in Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry. Henry led New England in touchdowns (9) and will likely get plenty of targets in 2022. While Smith struggled in his first season with the Patriots, (28 receptions for 294 yards and one touchdown) he will likely improve this season.
So there will be plenty of completion for targets this season in New England which could lead to Bourne taking a step back in terms of stats but with how well he has performed maybe he will lead the way for the Patriots once again.