Did you see the New England Patriots taking Lenoir-Rhyne safety Kyle Dugger with their first pick in the 2020 NFL Draft?
Safety was a need for the Patriots given the age of veteran starters Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung, but many experts did not predict Dugger would be the second player at his position drafted. In fact, we had him at No. 4 on our safety rankings entering the draft.
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The Patriots clearly were impressed with Dugger, who New England drafted with the No. 37 overall pick in Round 2. His ability to excel on special teams -- six punt return touchdowns in his college career -- could see him make an immediate impact as a rookie even if he doesn't see many reps in the secondary.
The selection of Dugger, as you might imagine, caught some Patriots fans off guard, especially those who were hoping New England would take Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet at that spot in Round 2.
Here's some notable Twitter reaction to the Patriots taking Dugger in the second round:
Just broke down the Kyle Dugger pick on @NBCSBoston. D2 safety. NFL-caliber athlete. Explosive as all get out. College tape looks like a senior in HS playing a bunch of 8th graders. Returned kicks. Should contribute in kicking game right away.— Phil Perry (@PhilAPerry) April 24, 2020
Kyle Dugger was a no-star recruit. Never received an FCS offer. Took his only offer from Lenior-Rhyne. Was 5-11, 170 as a high school senior. Gained almost 50 pounds by the time he left college. Turned himself into a legitimate pro prospect. Patriots want grinders. He's grinded.— Phil Perry (@PhilAPerry) April 25, 2020
Patriots can't help themselves. Follow up JoeJuan Williams, Cyrus Jones, Duke Dawson and Jordan Richards as 2nd-round, secondary dice rolls by taking a D2 safety from Lenoir-Rhyne with 37th pick. Can a D2 player w/a Covid-shortened offseason get up to speed to help in 2020?— Tom E. Curran (@tomecurran) April 24, 2020
What?— Scott Zolak (@scottzolak) April 24, 2020
Who is Kyle Dugger from Lenoir Rhyne? Is that a real thing? #Patriots— Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) April 24, 2020
Cmonnnnn. Anything but a defensive back! https://t.co/2tK81kqREX— Marc Bertrand (@Marc_Bertrand) April 24, 2020
The Patriots take S Kyle Dugger from D-II school Lenoir–Rhyne with their 2nd Round pick.— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) April 24, 2020
Very on brand. pic.twitter.com/5l6NXbz6Vr
Kyle Dugger's offers out of high school:— Darren Hartwell (@darren_hartwell) April 24, 2020
Berry College (DII), Lenoir-Rhyne (DII), Rheinhardt University (DIII)
Kyle Dugger's combine stats:
4.49-second 40, 42-inch vert, 134-inch broad jump
Kyle Dugger is gonna be in a great situation with NE. Sitting behind a bunch of veterans will give him time to get up to speed with the NFL game until the coaches are confident he’s ready.— Taylor Kyles (@tkyles39) April 24, 2020
In the meantime, he can contribute on special teams and possibly as a returner.
Here we go and this is totally a Bill Belichick move. He picks a division 2 player and he has a canine sitting the the chair when they show his draft room. Who let the dogs out???? Welcome to the @Patriots Kyle Dugger. pic.twitter.com/DAfaHk8rDS— Levan Reid (@LevanReid) April 24, 2020
“Kyle Dugger is a stud. High potential to be a star. Small school and relative unknown. Tremendous talent. Even better he’ll learn and won’t have to start this year.” - NFL executive text just now.— Courtney Fallon (@CourtneyFallon_) April 24, 2020
I've just now decided that Kyle Dugger will either be like the rest of the Patriots' second-round DBs, or he will be a Hall of Famer. There simply cannot be any in-between.— Michael Hurley (@michaelFhurley) April 25, 2020
Div II Kyle Dugger is the most Patriots pick I've ever seen #NFLDraft— Will Gavin (@WillGav) April 24, 2020