Duke Dawson

Patriots Activate Duke Dawson From IR

The Patriots have officially activated second-round cornerback Duke Dawson from injured reserve to the 53-man roster, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. In corresponding moves, the team released running back Kenjon Barner and linebacker Nicholas Grigsby

The Patriots were forced to place the rookie on IR in September due to a hamstring injury. Now, after a few weeks of practice, the former Florida Gator is good to go.

Dawson was in the mix to become New England’s slot cornerback early in camp but will likely rejoin the team as depth piece behind Jonathan Jones. In time, Dawson may overtake Jones, who Pro Football Focus grades as the league’s No. 57 ranked corner this year.

If he’s on the gameday roster, Dawson will have a chance to make his debut against the Jets in New Jersey on Nov. 25.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots’ Duke Dawson Returns To Practice

A host of players began practice after being designated on IR or another off-roster list by their respective teams. The Chiefs could soon see Daniel Sorensen back in action, and the AFC’s other top contender through seven games may have the services of a secondary cog as well.

Duke Dawson returned to Patriots practice on Wednesday, veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer tweets. The Patriots selected Dawson in the second round this year but placed him on IR due to a hamstring injury that appears to be healed to the point the former Florida Gator can practice.

The rookie was in the mix to become New England’s slot cornerback early in camp but now may be back as depth for the Pats’ defensive third level. Jonathan Jones has served as the Pats’ slot defender this season. Five corners — including rookie seventh-rounder Keion Crossen and rookie UDFA J.C. Jackson — and now-hybrid performer Jason McCourty reside on New England’s active roster.

One of the Colts’ second-round picks this year, defensive lineman Tyquan Lewis, returned to practice as well, Balzer adds. A foot injury sent Lewis to IR. He was one of four second-round picks the Colts made in April.

Also back at practice are Jets safety Rontez Miles, who was on the team’s PUP list, and Redskins cornerback Joshua Holsey, whom the team previously placed on its NFI list.

Patriots Notes: Gordon, Cooks, Gronk

New Patriots wideout Josh Gordon will make his New England debut today, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). Gordon was inactive for last week’s loss against the Lions, but the Pats are sorely in need of some playmaking ability at the wide receiver position, and Gordon certainly has the potential to give them exactly that.

Let’s take a quick look at a few more notes out of Foxboro as the Patriots get set to take on the Dolphins in what could surprisingly be a pivotal divisional matchup:

  • Speaking of playmaking wideouts, given the disappointing performance of New England’s receiving corps thus far, plenty are wondering whether the Pats were right to trade Brandin Cooks to the Rams in the offseason. When factoring in what the team netted in its trade to acquire Cooks from the Saints in 2017 and the trade that sent him to LA, Doug Kyed of NESN.com believes the Patriots were right to make the move. The Pats ultimately received a year of Cooks, a 2017 third-round pick, the 2018 No. 23 overall pick, and a 2018 sixth-rounder in exchange for another year of Cooks, a 2017 fourth-round pick, the 2017 No. 32 overall pick, and a 2018 fourth-round pick. That represents good value, especially when considering the Pats would have had to pay Cooks $8.5MM this year and might have received a 2020 compensatory third-rounder if they let him walk in free agency (which they almost certainly would have). Plus, New England could not have predicted the Julian Edeleman suspension, so even though the results might indicate the Cooks trade was a bad one with the benefit of hindsight, Kyed believes the process was right.
  • The Patriots have already put nine players on IR since the start of training camp, as Mike Reiss of ESPN.com observes. Reiss points out that the team put just 11 players on IR all of last season, and just four during the 2016 Super Bowl season. Reiss notes that only Rex Burkhead and Duke Dawson are the only two players who could realistically return from IR in 2018.
  • In light of last week’s Rob Gronkowski trade reports, Reiss points out that there had not been much communication between Gronk and the Pats before the star tight end was informed of the potential trade to Detroit. Reiss wonders whether New England really would have pulled the trigger on the deal, or if it simply used the trade as a way to reignite conversations with Gronkowski
  • Reiss also notes that last week’s AFC Defensive Player of the Week, the Bills’ Matt Milano, was drafted by Buffalo with the fifth-rounder it acquired from the Pats when New England signed then-RFA Mike Gillislee. Needless to say, that transaction looks like a big win for the Bills right now.
  • The Patriots cut Gordon’s former Browns teammate, Corey Coleman, from their practice squad yesterday.

Patriots To Place CB Duke Dawson On IR

Two of the Patriots’ top three picks are now set to be on IR. Second-round pick Duke Dawson will join Isaiah Wynn on the injured list, according to ESPN.com’ Field Yates (on Twitter).

The Patriots will promote wide receiver Riley McCarron from their practice squad, per Yates. A hamstring injury will send Dawson to IR.

Dawson was set to be one of New England’s reserve cornerbacks and was seeing time in the slot during the preseason. New England still has five cornerbacks on its active roster, six if cornerback/safety Jason McCourty is counted.

Five of the nine Patriots 2018 draftees — Wynn, Dawson, linebacker Christian Sam, wideout Braxton Berrios and tight end Ryan Izzo — are on IR. Only Dawson can return, since he was moved there after being carried through to New England’s 53-man roster.

AFC East Notes: Darnold, Pats, Patterson

Sam Darnold ended his holdout on Monday, leaving Roquan Smith as the final unsigned rookie. But the Jets made some concessions to bring their long-term quarterback investment into camp. Offset language, bonus payments and guarantees served as sticking points for Darnold’s camp, and the Jets bent on two of these items. Darnold’s deal includes offsets, but he will receive his $20MM signing bonus payment within 15 days, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports (on Twitter). The Jets also agreed agreed to keep Darnold’s guarantees intact in the event he is fined in the future, per PFT (on Twitter). Florio notes the lump-sum bonus payment represents a rarity, and this surely indicates how badly the Jets wanted their QB in camp.

The Jets continue to believe Darnold can make a strong push to unseat Josh McCown from the starting job, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv notes. A Jets official categorized Darnold as not being “hopelessly behind” by missing the first few days of camp. Jets officials have gushed about the USC-developed passer’s potential all offseason, so it’s unlikely he’ll be out of the running because of this holdout.

Here’s the latest from the AFC East:

  • Despite being a two-time All-Pro return man, Cordarrelle Patterson‘s been a specialist on special teams. The former Vikings and Raiders returner has specialized in kick returns. Bill Belichick hinted at the possibility of Patterson being a punt returner with the Patriots as well, but Mike Reiss of ESPN.com notes that hasn’t been the case in camp yet. Rookies Braxton Berrios and Riley McCarron have joined veterans Julian Edelman, Patrick Chung and Chris Hogan as the punt returners in Pats camp. Patterson has fielded precisely one punt in his five-year NFL career, so it shouldn’t surprise the Patriots confine him to kickoff returns.
  • Rookie Corey Bojorquez could push five-year incumbent Patriots punter Ryan Allen, per Reiss, who notes the New Mexico product probably has more natural talent than Allen. The sixth-year veteran has one year and $2MM remaining on an extension he signed in 2015.
  • Second-round Pats pick Duke Dawson is in the mix to win the nickel cornerback job, Reiss tweets. Florida’s seen several corners warrant high draft choices in recent years, and this one has a chance to play alongside Stephon Gilmore on passing downs. Reiss tabs Eric Rowe as being slightly ahead of Jason McCourty for work as the other starting corner.
  • The Jets worked out defensive lineman Drew Iddings over the weekend, Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer tweets. Iddings has bounced around the league for a couple of years, with the Panthers being the most recent team to cut him by doing so last week, but has yet to play in a regular-season game.
  • Former Cardinals tight end Troy Niklas latched on with the Patriots this spring, but New England released him last week. He’s still dealing with a sore knee stemming from a 2017 injury, Jeff Howe of The Athletic reports (subscription required). However, Howe adds his New England’s depth chart at tight end also contributed to the move.

Draft Signings: Patriots, Ravens, Raiders

Here’s a look at today’s non-first round draft signings:

  • The Patriots signed second-round cornerback Duke Dawson. The Pats moved around quite a bit on draft weekend, including a trade up fro No. 63 to No. 56 to select Dawson. As shown on Roster Resource, the Florida product figures to be one of the team’s primary backups to starters Jonathan Jones and Stephon Gilmore, along with veteran Jason McCourty. Dawson’s deal is worth $4.7MM over four years, as dictated by his draft slot.
  • The Ravens signed third-round tackle Orlando Brown. Per the terms of his slot, Brown will receive a four-year, $3.491MM deal. Tight end Mark Andrews, who was Brown’s teammate at Oklahoma and also selected in the third round, has also inked his deal. As of this writing, the Ravens have just two unsigned picks in first round selections Hayden Hurst and Lamar Jackson.
  • The Raiders signed two draft picks today: Michigan defensive tackle Maurice Hurst (fifth round) and Oklahoma State wide receiver Marcell Ateman (seventh). Five of their nine picks now under contract, as shown on PFR’s tracker. From a talent perspective, Hurst was viewed as one of the top interior defensive linemen in the draft, but heart issues caused him to fall. The Michigan product will join fellow rookie Arden Key on the defensive line, giving the Raiders a double dose of young boom-or-bust talent.

Patriots Move Up, Get Bucs’ No. 56 Pick

Before the draft’s Day 2 hit the two-hour mark, the Patriots have a three-trade night. Per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (Twitter link), New England is moving back up — to the No. 56 spot — and Tampa Bay will receive compensation.

The Bucs will receive an additional fourth-round pick (No. 117) for moving down and sliding into the Pats’ No. 63 spot, Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. The Patriots, who moved back twice via two other trades with NFC teams tonight, are taking Florida cornerback Duke Dawson.

Playing in a Gators secondary that in 2016 housed Teez Tabor, Quincy Wilson and Marcus Maye, Dawson played a bigger role as a senior in 2017 and intercepted a career-high four passes. This marks the seventh cornerback taken thus far.

Dawson marks the second corner the Pats have added this offseason, following Jason McCourty to New England. He’ll join a corner corps that lost Malcolm Butler via free agency.