The New England Patriots’ safety group is stacked, but there could be one third-year player who is primed for a breakout.
Bleacher Report’s Gary Davenport wrote a column Monday identifying one player at each position “who will explode into stardom.” He stated the players in the list have “the talent to be a star in the NFL, and a situation that should afford him the opportunity to show what he can do.”
Players listed by Davenport were San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance and Denver Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy. Kyle Dugger was listed for a safety that could potentially become a star.
The Patriots drafted Dugger with the No. 37 pick of the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. The former Lenoir-Rhyne University player was given a big role during his rookie year, and he improved in his sophomore season — Dugger went from allowing a 72.7% completion percentage in 2020 to a 64% completion percentage in 2021.
Devin McCourty had high praise for the young safety.
“I love Dug,” Devin McCourty said on June 14. “The way he’s able to not care about what people are saying about him, what he’s done in the past — being a D-II player — he doesn’t care about any of that. Dug shows up, can do everything, can play in the deep part of the field, can cover.
“Obviously, if you watched any of our games, you know he can knock your head off. I just love watching him grow. I think sky?s the limit for him.”
The Patriots roster is underrated by many, but New England has many gems just waiting to emerge, and the 2022-23 season could be Dugger’s time to shine.