Phillip Dorsett, the self-described “meathead” professional football player, may very well be the shrimp of the family.

His older sister, Briana Dorsett, is a bodybuilder and fitness model. She trains for competitions, and took first place at a 2017 event in Florida. She has a negative body fat percentage.

His cousin, Willie Floyd, is also heavy into bodybuilding. Floyd is Dorsett’s trainer and roommate. He has a 12-pack and biceps the size of a football.

As for Dorsett?

He’s listed at a modest 5-foot 10 and 192 pounds on the New England Patriots’ website. But he entered this week’s training camp looking rock solid.

“I wouldn’t say I’ve added weight,” Dorsett said. “I’ve gotten a lot stronger, a lot stronger.”

Dorsett, who was acquired in the Jacoby Brissett trade last summer, always has been known as a pure speed receiver. He clocked an absurd 4.33 40-yard dash at the 2015 NFL scouting combine, catapulting himself into the first round of the draft. He came off the board at No. 29 overall to Indianapolis, where he spent two uneventful seasons before the trade to New England.

Despite playing nearly 400 snaps for the Patriots a year ago, he hauled in only 12 passes. He did, however, show flashes in massive moments. He fended off Jaguars linebacker Myles Jack for a crucial 31-yard reception in the fourth quarter of the Patriots’ AFC Championship Game rally, setting up a Danny Amendola touchdown.

He’s hoping to build on that finish, and possibly expand his role within the Patriots offense. Yes, Dorsett has blazing straight-line speed, but he also possesses elite quickness – his 6.70 three-cone drill at the scouting combine was among the best by any receiver over the past four years. And now he’s added strength, which is important when fighting off coverage on short routes over the middle.

“Just trying to open up the tool bag, just trying to be an every-down receiver,” Dorsett said. “Not really just being a deep threat. A lot of coaches, they won’t let you do the other stuff because you’re fast. They just want you to run vertical.”

Dorsett, of course, is not referring to the Patriots coaching staff. His current team is giving him a chance to play multiple spots. Throughout the first two days of camp, Dorsett has received work with some of Tom Brady’s most trusted targets. He spent time alone with Brady and Julian Edelman on Thursday, polishing his footwork on the pivot route, a short route where the receiver cuts inward and then quickly breaks outside toward the sideline. During Friday’s session, he worked with a group that included Brady, Edelman, Chris Hogan, Rob Gronkowski and James White.

Former Patriots receiver Brandin Cooks had the physical makeup of someone who could excel outside and in the slot. Coaches never gave him a look at the latter position, though. Dorsett, who possesses a similar body type, looks to be a candidate at that spot. It’s a critical position in the Patriots offense, and the absence of Julian Edelman in September leaves the team without an established receiver to work the middle of the field.

“They’re short on a pure slot guy,” said ESPN analyst Matt Hasselbeck. “Who’s your next Edelman? Is it Riley McCarron? Jordan Matthews? And Phillip Dorsett, he’s 5-foot-10, but he’s not a slot guy. He’s a speed demon, and a really good one, I think.”

Dorsett always has studied Edelman, noting the receiver’s “savvy” and ability to create instant separation against press coverage.

Dorsett’s training with his cousin put emphasis on “being more explosive, being able to get in and out of my breaks.” He added: “A lot of leg work, a lot of squats, a lot of lunges.”

Most of his offseason was spent in his hometown of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where most of his time was in the gym.

“I am a meathead,” Dorsett said. “You can ask our strength coach. I’m a meathead. I’m always in the weight room. … I come from a training family. We work hard at what we do.”

While home for the summer, Dorsett frequently drove west to Davie to find the steepest hill in the county. He’s been running it since he was in high school. It puts the hill at Gillette to shame.

“Oh yeah, it’s way bigger than that one,” he said, gesturing toward the hill behind the Pats’ practice field. “Way bigger. And it’s steep, too.”

It’s 40-50 yards, Dorsett estimated, and vital for his speed workouts.

There’s no question Dorsett has the long speed to play a specialized role for the Patriots. He’s intent on becoming more than that, though, a development that would only strengthen an already high-powered offense.


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