RD2 #5/#37: S Kyle Dugger, Lenoir-Rhyne

Soxy

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Howe with a great write-up on Dugger's story. The entire article is worth a read, but I thought this nugget was interesting. Pats may have been worried about Carolina taking Dugger at pick 38. Panthers were heavily scouting the kid, which makes sense since he was in their backyard.

The Bills (picking at No. 54 overall), Steelers (No. 49) and Panthers (No. 38) all showed the most interest, and every member of the Panthers front office visited Hickory last season, according to the Lenoir-Rhyne coaches.

Meanwhile, the Patriots had a presence on campus but never tipped their hand. Cronic, Brock, Cole and Shields couldn’t recall a single conversation during the vetting process.

But the Patriots knew something because they traded back from No. 23 to 37, right in front of the Panthers, and director of player personnel Nick Caserio said they identified Dugger as one of three players they hoped to get during the second and third rounds. If they didn’t take him at No. 37, they probably weren’t getting him.
 

Captaincoop

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Finally watched his highlight video. God bless anyone who can watch him play at that level and tell whether he can be an NFL starter. The whole thing looks like Billy Madison's dodgeball game.

Obviously Belichick and the Pats have more information - seeing him at Senior Bowl practice, etc. The video from his regular games is comical.
 

RedOctober3829

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Finally watched his highlight video. God bless anyone who can watch him play at that level and tell whether he can be an NFL starter. The whole thing looks like Billy Madison's dodgeball game.

Obviously Belichick and the Pats have more information - seeing him at Senior Bowl practice, etc. The video from his regular games is comical.
People said the same things about Ali Marpet coming from Hobart. Zo said everyone was clowning Ben Coates coming from Livingstone. Football is football. If you’re a good player it will translate over at any level. Plenty of players from blue blood programs fail in the NFL.
 

snowmanny

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People said this about Jerry Rice too.

Ed: also about his college QB, whose name escapes me and did indeed fail.
 

Captaincoop

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People said the same things about Ali Marpet coming from Hobart. Zo said everyone was clowning Ben Coates coming from Livingstone. Football is football. If you’re a good player it will translate over at any level. Plenty of players from blue blood programs fail in the NFL.
Well sure, plenty of great players in the SEC can't play in the NFL. But it's a heck of a lot easier to figure that out by watching their film. The only thing I can tell from this kid's tape is that he's definitely the best athlete on the field at that level.

He may be awesome, but the level he was playing at is bad.
 

RedOctober3829

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Well sure, plenty of great players in the SEC can't play in the NFL. But it's a heck of a lot easier to figure that out by watching their film. The only thing I can tell from this kid's tape is that he's definitely the best athlete on the field at that level.

He may be awesome, but the level he was playing at is bad.
This is a situation like some colleges face in watching tape of a kid from a state that has inferior competition. They'll invite them to their summer camp and see how they do against similar rated kids and see if he performs at the same level. Dugger balled out at the Senior Bowl.
 

BaseballJones

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Well sure, plenty of great players in the SEC can't play in the NFL. But it's a heck of a lot easier to figure that out by watching their film. The only thing I can tell from this kid's tape is that he's definitely the best athlete on the field at that level.

He may be awesome, but the level he was playing at is bad.
And he’s a man among boys. 24 years old versus guys ranging from 18-22. He’s probably got like four years on most of those guys.
 

Rough Carrigan

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Jesus, he's 24? Seems odd BB would spend a high pick on someone that old.
Could the age difference be more of a problem for a player relying on strength? I mean, if someone was a 24 year old defensive end dominating 20 year old guards and tackles then is it more worrisome that he'll keep his edge than a guy who's faster than 20 year old opponents when he's 24?

Wouldn't the age difference also be more worrisome if the player was excelling through advanced and honed technique? If that 24 year old defensive end was dominating 20 year old guards and tackles with a variety of pass rush moves that were more sophisticated than they usually faced, that would heighten the worry that he'll lose that edge against tougher, equally old or older competition.
 

tims4wins

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Eh, this isn't the NBA, not sure it's as big a deal in NFL.
Yeah, age is a feature here, he is more physically developed. Vollmer was like 25 when the Pats drafted him, that worked out well. If Dugger is good enough to play on a second contract in NE that takes him to about 31 (assuming a second 4 year contract), I think we’d all be thrilled with that outcome. DMC and Chung have shown you can still play S at a high level into your early 30s or beyond.
 

BaseballJones

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Agree with T4W. Age is absolutely no concern here at all. Even if he has a really really good NFL career, you don't expect it to be more than like 10 years. Given his athleticism, he should be able to play until he's in his early 30s. If you spend a 2nd round pick and get 8-10 quality years out of him, that's a great investment.
 

SMU_Sox

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Age and drafting is a great topic. Assuming a guy is either older or younger it can be a plus, minus, or neutral situation.

Here is when age is a positive: breaking out early is positively correlated with NFL success. It is statistically significant, IIRC. It is even a stat now, breakout age. When you physically dominate the competition at a young age that's like dominating AA when you are 18 years old in baseball. One of the reasons I was in love with Tremaine Edmunds two years ago was because of how young and athletic he was. Typically prospects are done growing into their man bodies by 23-25 so when you have a 19 year old who tests like this:

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it is exciting... The other side of that is for many positions there are a multitude of little things you have to do well. The earlier you can put together good tape the better the future looks for you because you're already ahead of mastering your position. When you have both excellent tape at a young age AND you test like this freak of nature that's additionally great! Edmunds for example has been evolving into an all-pro caliber LB.
No metric is perfect but I do wonder if some of the wide receivers who have a great breakout age and dominator rating but get a ton of schemed touches like N'Keal Harry and Bryan Edwards are overrated by both stats - that is a side note to the side note though.

When age is neutral: You rarely play more than a second contract anyway. If a guy is older but he was physically dominant and has good athletic testing that's neutral. He shouldn't be penalized for being older... but he can't get any points for being young because obviously he is not. Dugger is 24 but he's an athletic marvel. It doesn't move the needle much that he's 24 because you know he has a ++ NFL body for a safety. Also, if a younger prospect doesn't necessarily dominate the competition I don't deduct for that when projecting. Cesar Ruiz is a good example of this from the past draft cycle. Ruiz had ok to good power on tape but nothing elite. You expect a guy like him to develop more power as he ages.

The last category is where age is a problem: Older guys who win with superior technique but who don't physically dominate the competition and who are not world class athletes. Think Van Jefferson from last draft cycle. If you aren't dominating guys physically who are 3-4 years younger than you now you aren't going to physically dominate guys in the NFL.

Dugger is safely in the age doesn't really matter because he is a physical freak.
 

CoffeeNerdness

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Dugger played 34 snaps last night (54%)

View: https://twitter.com/MikeReiss/status/1307987634959142913


They sent him on a few blitzes where he sent blockers flying.

View: https://twitter.com/ZackCoxNESN/status/1307859197489446912


View: https://twitter.com/MySportsUpdate/status/1307849084720623617


It's probably my lying eyes but I thought he looked a bit stiff for a guy touted for his athleticism. Regardless it seems like he'll be a guy that should integrate nicely as the season pushes forward. BB has some serious coaching up to do on the defensive side of the ball because there's a definite lack of upside talent on the DL/LB units.
 

DJnVa

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No breakdown, but he played 54% of the snaps on defense last night.
 

SMU_Sox

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Dugger: The fact that he has a ton of roles in year 1 blows my mind and yet he's not just impressive for a rookie but for a vet too.

Quick mention: He can return kicks!

On defense (these won't be exhaustive as I don't count some of his run defense snaps):
Covers tight end: 8 (he shut down Olsen)
Covers RB: 2 (covered Chris Carson perfectly on a go route. Took Hyde out of the slot)
Deep man back: 1
Shallow zone: 6
Deep split zone: 7
On a blitz: 4 (got pressure on Wilson)

He was the Chung/over-hang defender role as well. He can play a bit of LB that way - pretty impressive. He played some reps at ILB next to Bentley in the role Phillips did last game. He also had a snap as the dime LB and made the tackle on Homer. By my count in the past 2 games he has played every ILB role.

Here are a couple of my favorite highlights:

2nd and 1, 13:18 2nd Quarter. Check this one out of him as a run defender. Iupati comes out to the 2nd level to block him but he has none of it.
34380

He then crashed the hole and takes down Hyde. They still made the first down but it was close and he only got 1 yard.

3rd and 18, 3th quarter with 12:57 to go.

Dugger comes flying down hill, smashes their 340 pounds guard Simmons. He is lucky to bounce toward the plays and makes the tackle on Homer. Here he is smashing Simmons:

34375


He then makes the tackle on Homer.

He has incredible range. Plenty of times he comes form center-field to stop a run. My one complaint on him is he could have been quicker moving towards the RB in zones.

If you look at how much they are asking him to do at this point in his career it is hard to not come away thinking he could be something special.Kyle Dugger is already looking like he is something special. It is rare for rookies to be asked to do so much so early and yet Dugger has leapfrogged veteran safeties and is making his mark on the defense.
 
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NortheasternPJ

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Dugger: The fact that he has a ton of roles in year 1 blows my mind and yet he's not just impressive for a rookie but for a vet too.

Quick mention: He can return kicks!

On defense (these won't be exhaustive as I don't count some of his run defense snaps):
Covers tight end: 8 (he shut down Olsen)
Covers RB: 2 (covered Chris Carson perfectly on a go route. Took Hyde out of the slot)
Deep man back: 1
Shallow zone: 6
Deep split zone: 7
On a blitz: 4 (got pressure on Wilson)

He was the Chung/over-hang defender role as well. He can play a bit of LB that way - pretty impressive. He played some reps at ILB next to Bentley in the role Phillips did last game. He also had a snap as the dime LB and made the tackle on Homer. By my count in the past 2 games he has played every ILB role.

Here are a couple of my favorite highlights:

2nd and 1, 13:18 2nd Quarter. Check this one out of him as a run defender. Iupati comes out to the 2nd level to block him but he has none of it.
View attachment 34380

He then crashed the hole and takes down Hyde. They still made the first down but it was close and he only got 1 yard.

3rd and 18, 3th quarter with 12:57 to go.

Dugger comes flying down hill, smashes their 340 pounds guard Simmons. He is lucky to bounce toward the plays and makes the tackle on Homer. Here he is smashing Simmons:

View attachment 34375


He then makes the tackle on Homer.

He has incredible range. Plenty of times he comes form center-field to stop a run. My one complaint on him is he could have been quicker moving towards the RB in zones.

If you look at how much they are asking him to do at this point in his career it is hard to not come away thinking he could be something special.Kyle Dugger is already looking like he is something special. It is rare for rookies to be asked to do so much so early and yet Dugger has leapfrogged veteran safeties and is making his mark on the defense.
So you're saying he's not Tavon Wilson?
 

Harry Hooper

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Bedard says he's now obsessed with Dugger over at BSJ, and believes he should be on the field all the time on D.
He looks like a panther stalking his prey when he blitzes from the second level. He should be the Patriots’ version of Jamal Adams at some point.
 

Shelterdog

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So you're saying he's not Tavon Wilson?
Not to be a BB defender but Wilson ended up being a decent pick--he's in his ninth years and he's started more than 40 games. He was never all that good but that's a very good run for a late second round pick. But he definitely was picked a lot higher than the draft universe had him going. Impossible to tell where the 32 teams had him ranked but it seems pretty likely it wasn't all that high.

Dugger is a completely different animal; he's an athletic freak who performed well at the senior bowl, he was in all the mocks and lists, he was picked about where every draftnik had him going. Any doubt about that guy is purely because he went to a small school with a funny name.
 

BaseballJones

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Yeah Tavon Wilson has turned out to be a pretty good NFL player. In 2016 he had 89 tackles. In 2019 he had 98 tackles. Plays excellent special teams. Long career (nearly 3x the average length).

I'm so excited about Dugger. Like most everyone else, I was like...Uh, WHO? (you can see my reaction in the draft thread) But once I started reading up on him, I got excited. And seeing him the first two games...man he's a monster.
 

SMU_Sox

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He has shades of Jamaal Adams to his game. Adams made the same play crashing downhill and stunning Onwenu before making a tackle earlier. Adams also blitzes a lot. The scary part though is that Dugger can play center-field as well while Adams is more of a box safety.

Even people who liked Dugger or saw his ceiling thought it would take him a year to get there. We know nothing, Jon Snow.