The New England Patriots selected safety Kyle Dugger out of Division II Lenoir-Rhyne with the 37th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Here is what SI's Bill Huber had to say about Dugger ahead of the draft in his "what we like" section of Dugger's draft profile:
"Look at the size (he’s also got 32 7/8-inch arms and 10 3/8-inch hands), speed and production. From a pure physical standpoint, this is an elite prospect. Dugger did exactly what he should have done between the lines: dominate. All eyes were on Dugger at the Senior Bowl and he didn’t look out of place. He can hit, he can run and he can track the football. At the least, he’ll immediately make his mark as a subpackage defender and special-teams stud because the knack for finding the football is universal, regardless of level of competition."
Safety and captain Devin McCourty is coming off one of his best seasons in the NFL. But he is 32 years old, and fellow safety Patrick Chung is the same age. Those two starters are nearing the end of their careers. The Patriots did sign Adrian Phillips this offseason, but grabbing a safety in the draft that they can take time developing is a very smart strategy.
Dugger isn't a guy that will have an immediate impact right away, but that's okay. New England has a safety group that is capable of handling the workload in 2020. However, with a year or two to develop, Dugger could become the successor to Chung.