The New England Patriots take on the Las Vegas Raiders today in Foxboro at 1 p.m. ET. With this week's installment of "3 Patriots Players to Watch," we take a look at three players all drafted within the last two seasons for the Patriots. All of which should and need to show up for New England to find success and go on 2-1 on Sunday.
Dugger was phenomenal last week against the Seattle Seahawks. For him to be this far along in his development so quickly is extremely impressive. With that, the Patriots have placed a good amount of confidence in him so far, and expect that to expand this week.
The rookie safety/linebacker hybrid could be instrumental in taking away the middle of the field from Derek Carr. Dugger helping doing so would essentially cripple a major portion of the Raiders' air attack. Dugger playing a robber role against this offense would make a lot of sense. However, this is not the reason to keep your eye on him.
The real reason to watch Dugger in this game is due to the looming question throughout the week. Who will cover the gigantic tight end, Darren Waller? While only playing in his third game, there is reason to believe that Dugger could get some looks covering Las Vegas' biggest and baddest weapon.
Only three secondary players on New England can come close to competing with Waller's size. Those three are Stephon Gilmore, Joejuan Williams, and Kyle Dugger from smallest to largest. All three are solid candidates to cover Waller, and all three could end up doing so at some point in the game. However, the sole fact that Dugger could even be in the cards to cover the biggest part of a team's passing attack already speaks to the bright future this youngster has.
As pointed out in Friday's piece by PatriotMaven contributor Sam Connon, Froholdt is currently the number one option to replace the injured David Andrews. Something that has been on display the last two weeks is just how much of a big part Andrews is to this offensive line. With him out and the inexperienced Froholdt now likely in, it goes without saying why this is a position to watch and why Froholdt is a player to watch.
The fourth-round pick of 2019 struggled in the preseason last year, only to be shut down for the entirety of the regular season with a shoulder injury. Now, Froholdt has seemingly made great improvements in camp and looked much better than his uninspiring preseason last year. Hopefully his training camp success can carry over into the first regular season start he appears poised to make this Sunday.
One player who just isn't getting talked about enough is Winovich. His sophomore campaign is off to a mighty impressive start, as Winovich can rush the passer, set the edge, and seemingly did everything else right in his first two games this season.
Winovich is going to need to do a great job of setting the edge this week to ensure that Raiders running back Josh Jacobs doesn't get rolling. With him setting the edge, he makes people like Ja'Whaun Bentley's life easier to come in and make the tackle before Jacobs gets going up-field near the sidelines.
Watch Winovich, as his edge-setting will be important, however, he will also likely have several opportunities to get in the face of Carr. Carr took some bad sacks last week against the New Orleans Saints. With the offensive line really struggling with health right now (starting guard Richie Icognito and left tackle Trent Brown won't play for Las Vegas in Week 3), this will be a perfect opportunity for Winovich to not only disrupt running lanes, but also register his first solo sack of the season.
Can Winovich continue to build off his strong showing thus far in 2020?
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