Kyle Dugger

Patriots Notes: QBs, Dugger, Jackson

The Patriots did not guarantee Cam Newton the starting quarterback job after they signed him in late June, but assuming Newton is healthy, it would be shocking to see anyone else under center come Week 1. And the 2015 MVP was a “full go” when practices started earlier this month, so all signs are pointing towards Newton serving as New England’s signal-caller when the season opens in a few weeks.

Jeff Howe of The Athletic details how the “competition” has unfolded over the first few practices. Newton has taken the majority of first-team reps, and while he has not been perfect, his accuracy has been impressive. Jarrett Stidham, the second-year pro who was in line to replace Tom Brady before the Newton acquisition, has been dealing with a hip injury, and he has also struggled with interceptions. The team is not concerned about Stidham’s health, but the turnovers aren’t helping his cause.

Brian Hoyer, meanwhile, has had an up-and-down camp thus far, but considering his experience and familiarity with the Patriots’ offense, Howe says the 34-year-old remains an option to start during the early stages of the season.

Now for more notes out of Foxborough:

  • The Patriots’ top draft choice in 2020, safety Kyle Dugger, may struggle to see early playing time on defense because of how much the condensed offseason is impacting rookies’ abilities to learn the pro game. But as Mike Reiss of ESPN.com writes, the team is eyeing Dugger as its top return specialist. The Lenoir-Rhyne product returned 67 punts for 929 yards and six TDs during his collegiate career.
  • In the same piece linked above, Reiss says Jermaine Eluemunor is in the mix to replace Marcus Cannon — who opted out of the 2020 season — at right tackle. Though Yodny Cajuste appeared to be the favorite for the job, Reiss writes in a separate post that Cajuste, a 2019 third-rounder, appears to be buried on the depth chart.
  • Reiss adds that J.C. Jackson‘s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, has touched base with the Patriots about an extension for his client. As a former UDFA, Jackson is now extension-eligible despite having just two years of service time. He has become a key piece of New England’s secondary and has recorded eight interceptions over his first two professional seasons.
  • Lamar Miller‘s one-year deal with the Pats will feature a $1.05MM base salary with $200K guaranteed, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Miller can earn up to $1.5MM more in achievable incentives.

Patriots Sign Rookie Kyle Dugger, Wrap 2020 NFL Draft Class

The Patriots’ entire 2020 NFL Draft class is now in the fold. The Pats have agreed to terms with second-round safety Kyle Dugger, according to ESPN.com’s Field Yates (on Twitter). With that, the Pats have become the first team in the league to sign their entire lot of draft picks.

Although he was a second round choice, Dugger was the first player chosen by the Patriots at No. 37 overall. Evaluators around the league were high on the Division-II Lenoir-Rhyne product, even though most fans weren’t familiar with him.

Dugger definitely isn’t your average rookie – he’s already 24 and he comes to the Patriots with only seven games worth of footage from 2019, thanks to a hand injury. He was, however, a second-team All-American last year, and the Pats like his upside.

Here’s the full breakdown of the Patriots’ 2020 draft class, via PFR’s tracker:

2-37: Kyle Dugger, S (Lenoir-Rhyne): Signed
2-60: Josh Uche, LB (Michigan): Signed
3-87: Anfernee Jennings, OLB (Alabama): Signed
3-91: Devin Asiasi, TE (UCLA): Signed
3-101: Dalton Keene, TE (Virginia Tech): Signed
5-159: Justin Rohrwasser, K (Marshall): Signed
6-182: Michael Onwenu, G (Michigan)
6-195: Justin Herron, T (Wake Forest): Signed
6-204: Cassh Maluia, LB (Wyoming): Signed
7-230: Dustin Woodard, C (Memphis): Signed

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Draft Kyle Dugger At No. 37

The Patriots went outside the box with their first pick of the 2020 draft, taking safety Kyle Dugger from tiny school Lenoir-Rhyne with the 37th overall pick.

Dugger was expected to go in the second-round so it wasn’t shocking, but he’s still a more under the radar prospect as a result of playing D2 ball. Dugger shined during Senior Bowl week, and began rocketing up draft boards as a result. He received all kinds of accolades during his college career, and was a second-team All-American in 2019 despite being limited to only seven games because of a hand injury.

At 24 he’s older than your typical draft prospect, and definitely comes with a lot of risk. Bill Belichick obviously thought it was a plunge worth taking, and it sounds like he’s got high upside. Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller listed Keanu Neal and Mark Barron as pro comps in a recent write-up.