The Carolina Panthers got some help in their secondary during their preseason opener Saturday from a former cornerback of the New England Patriots.
Duke Dawson, who the Patriots selected in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft (56th overall), put together a standout performance in Carolina’s 23-21 win over the Washington Commanders as Dawson looks to secure a roster spot.
Dawson came up with a timely interception in the red zone in the final minutes of the first half to halt a drive from the Commanders. Dawson was more in the right place at the right time to pick off an overthrown ball by quarterback Taylor Heinicke, but he still gets credit for collecting the turnover.
Dawson added to his strong showing by recording two pass break-ups as well as four tackles, which were second-most on the Panthers.
Carolina signed the 5-foot-10, 193-pound corner on July 29 to add depth to their secondary, but the 26-year-old looks like he’s trying to make a case that he could be more than that.
While the Patriots used a second-round pick on the Florida product, Dawson was a complete bust during his time in New England. He didn’t play a single snap in a regular-season game with the Patriots — he spent the 2018 season on injured reserve due to a hamstring injury — before getting traded to the Denver Broncos prior to the start of the 2019 campaign.
Dawson flamed out with the Broncos as well, playing 26 games over three seasons with Denver and totaling just 27 tackles. Last year, Dawson didn’t see any game action as he landed on the Broncos practice squad after suffering an injury.
Dawson now has a chance to build off his preseason performance against his former team. The Panthers travel to Foxboro this upcoming week for joint practices before the two sides collide in an exhibition contest on Friday at Gillette Stadium.