Fire the Muskets: Patriots Draft S Kyle Dugger

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There is one thing we should all have learned after 20 years with Bill Belichick drafting for the New England Patriots.  He will never take the player you want or expect.  The Patriots made their first selection in the 2020 NFL Draft by selecting Division II safety Kyle Dugger out of Lenoir-Rhyne. 

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If you had guessed the Patriots were going to select Dugger with their first pick in the draft I would have called you crazy.  To be honest, with the players still available he was not even at the top of the list of who we'd think the Patriots would select. 

So what exactly are the Patriots getting in their newest safety?  According to Lance Zierlein the notes about Dugger at the NFL Combine, “It's rare to find a safety with elite size, speed, explosiveness and production at a Power 5 school and almost impossible to find one at a Division II school.  Dugger crammed the stat sheet full and used those elite traits to dominate the opposition.  At times, he seems bored with his level of competition, but his engagement can be instant and urgent when it needs to be.  He plays with controlled violence and carries an alpha demeanor on the field.  He has soft hands and is rangy, but needs to train his eyes and improve his fundamentals before he's coverage-ready.  Dugger is a versatile, scheme-friendly safety who helps immediately on special teams and could develop into a talented NFL starter.”

Shop for NHL Gear at Fanatics!According to NBC Sports Boston’s Phil Perry, Dugger was a no-star recruit, he never received a FCS offer and was only offered an opportunity at Lenoir-Rhyne.  While in high school, he was 5'-11" and 170 pounds as a senior.  While he was in college he added 50 pounds and turned himself into a legitimate pro prospect. 

In a draft that is loaded with small college football stars, Belichick zeroed in on Duggar betting this small school athlete will be a star in the NFL.  The former Lenoir-Rhyne freak on defense overmatched his opponents by either picking the ball off opposing quarterbacks, mashing up undersized wide receivers at the line and he returned punts for touchdowns, six in total out of 67 opportunities.  Dugger will excel at special teams for the Patriots, an area that Belichick holds with a high regard. 
Dugger impressed at the Senior Bowl.  He earned high marks in both coverage and special teams using his versatility.  That same versatility is what opened eyes in New England and Belichick will hope he will become a dual threat on both special teams and on defense.  While he excelled at the Division II level, there are still risks involved with Dugger as he transitions to the pro game.  With safeties like Alabama’s Xavier McKinney and LSU’s Grant Delpit, the Patriots feel there is more value with Dugger. 

The Patriots are looking to get younger at safety and add depth to the position. Dugger begins to fill some needs for the team with Duron Harmon now with the Lions and both Patrick Chung and Devin McCourty at 33 coming into this season.  The freak athlete Dugger could be a lock to replace Chung at safety as he continues to age.  Luckily the Patriots do not need him to make an impact right away on the defensive side of the ball. 

The Patriots have drafted an underdog, a player who had only one team at the collegiate level that wanted him and he excelled under those circumstances.  Now the Patriots want Dugger, the underdog who will now get an opportunity to develop under one of the greatest minds in the history of the game, and he should begin to impact games from the special teams side of the ball almost instantly in 2020. 

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Boston Sports Syndicate: Fire the Muskets: Patriots Draft S Kyle Dugger
Fire the Muskets: Patriots Draft S Kyle Dugger
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