After trading down in the first round with the Chargers, the Patriots finally have made a pick, though it’s unclear if it was coach Bill Belichick or his dog who made the selection.
When ESPN cut to Belichick’s draft headquarters during the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft on Friday night, Belichick’s dog — an Alaskan Klee Kai named Nike — was seated all alone by the computers. The draft is being conducted virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Patriots went on to pick small-school Division II safety Kyle Dugger of Lenoir-Rhyne University, located in Hickory, North Carolina.
Dugger becomes the ninth player school history to be selected in the draft.
The 24-year-old defensive back recorded 237 tackles, 10 interceptions, 36 pass break-ups, six forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries, two blocked kicks and six punt-return touchdowns in his time at Lenoir-Rhyne. He was awarded the Cliff Harris Award as the top small school defensive player.
The 6-foot-1, 217-pound prospect shined at the Senior bowl in Mobile, Ala. this year as the only Div. II athlete invited. He ran a sub-4.5 40-yard dash at the 2020 NFL Combine in February and recorded a head-turning 42-inch vertical leap.
“[Draft analysts have underestimated] my intelligence and my hunger for the game, my hunger to be a great player,” Dugger said. “I feel that’s something that’s not been said too much [during the pre-draft process].
Dugger was the second safety taken in this year’s draft behind Giants’ Xavier McKinney. He is described by scouts as highly athletic and explosive with special teams versatility.
“It’s rare to find a safety with elite size, speed, explosiveness and production at a Power 5 school and almost impossible to find one at a Division II school,” according to NFL.com’s draft profile. “Dugger is a versatile, scheme-friendly safety who helps immediately on special teams and could develop into a talented NFL starter.”
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