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:

31162

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.