Bill Belichick's recent draft history may have its fair share of misses, but his second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft so far is looking like a hit.
Kyle Dugger was taken with the 37th overall pick out of Division II Lenoir-Rhyne University. The selection wasn't exactly met with oohs and ahhs, but we're beginning to see why Bill Belichick had an eye for the young safety.
Through nine games, Dugger has tallied 39 total tackles and been a key contributor on special teams. The 24-year-old's athletic ability has been on full display whenever he's taken the field, and it hasn't gone unnoticed.
Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry shared their thoughts on Dugger's encouraging rookie season on the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast.
"Every week, Kyle Dugger makes a play that doesn't only announce him as being in the right place at the right time, it shows his athleticism," Curran said. "And it shows what I think is a missing component of this defense that is just plain angry, mean, nasty and throw you down and not even apologize for the flag. It's something that Brandon Spikes brought, Rodney Harrison brought, Tedy Bruschi brought, and I think it's a refreshing thing to see."
Perry adds that to this point, the hype he heard about Dugger following last year's Senior Bowl has come to fruition.
"Special athlete but more than that. And one of the reasons I was encouraged by the pick when they made it was based in large part on his sheer athleticism and his size and speed combination," said Perry. "When you look at just how athletic he is as a defensive back and you take players with similarly athletic profiles that are taken in the first or second round, the odds are really good you've got at least a Pro Bowler.
"That was number one, but number two is I actually heard quite a bit about Kyle Dugger starting at the combine because the combine was fresh after the Senior Bowl. ... There was buzz about Kyle Dugger and in today's NFL, that kind of player can have immense value."
Also discussed on the new episode: How important is a strong safety to a championship team? Should Bill Belichick give Jarrett Stidham a start this season? Should the Patriots try other options at receiver? And Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times on Tom Brady’s struggles.