When Duke Dawson was drafted by the Patriots in the 2018 NFL Draft, he was a pretty surprising, yet necessary pick for New England. The Florida product and cornerback was selected in the second round with the 56th overall pick.
But that’s about where the prestige stopped for the cornerback, who found himself on a list of underwhelming recent draft picks that was compiled by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
His presence on the list hardly is surprising, considering Dawson never played a snap for the Patriots before he was traded to the Denver Broncos. Injuries stalled his development as he started his rookie season on injured reserve then tore his ACL after joining the Broncos. He currently is a free agent after spending 2021 on the Broncos practice squad.
But what is somewhat surprising is the rationale for his lackluster career that was provided by one AFC scout.
“It might be a Bill (Belichick) thing,” the anonymous scout told Fowler. “If you don’t handle hard coaching early on, it can be hard to recover from that.”
Yes, much has been made (for quite a long time) that it can be difficult to adjust to The Patriot Way. Cassius Marsh alone has been beating that drum for several years. But it certainly is a weird take in this instance when you consider Dawson’s injury history.
Dawson hasn’t exactly been getting the greatest press lately. Earlier this week, Bleacher Report NFL analyst Maurice Morton tabbed Dawson as the Patriots’ worst draft pick in recent history.
Perhaps some cornerback-needy teams will be able to look past it all and give Dawson his next NFL opportunity.