The New England Patriots made their first pick of the 2020 NFL Draft early in Friday night’s second round, and they chose to bolster their defense.
The Patriots selected Lenoir-Rhyne safety Kyle Dugger with the No. 37 pick. He should help improve both the secondary and the return game.
Not only did Dugger excel as a defensive back, he tallied six punt return touchdowns in his collegiate career. Dugger also was a four-year starter and is listed at 6-foot and 217 pounds. He was the lone Division II player invited to last year's Senior Bowl.
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New England has become the first team to take a safety from a Division II school in the first three rounds since 2006. The two Patriots starters at safety are Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung, and both are 32 years old, so adding some youth at this position makes sense.
Here's a scouting report on Dugger from our Phil Perry:
Box safety. Likes to hit. Tackles well, which you know the Patriots love. 6-1, 217 lbs. Huge wingspan (78.5 in) and hands (10.5 in). Showed up against good competition at the Senior Bowl. Picked off one pass and PBU'd two more in five 1v1 reps in Mobile, per @PFF. https://t.co/OoT2Uv5f5R— Phil Perry (@PhilAPerry) April 24, 2020
Kyle Dugger? From a D2 school? @PhilAPerry explains why the Patriots went with the safety from Lenoir-Rhyne with the 37th overall pick. @tomecurran wonders if the Patriots could have waited to get their guy.— NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSBoston) April 25, 2020
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And another via ESPN's Mike Reiss:
The Patriots acquired this selection and No. 71 overall (third round) from the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday in exchange for No. 23 overall in Round 1.