The New England Patriots traded up from the 63rd overall pick to the 56th overall pick in order to select Florida cornerback Duke Dawson. The Patriots gave up the 117th overall pick, which they previously acquired from moving down from 43rd overall in the second round.
The 5’11, 197-pound Dawson runs a solid 4.46s 40 yard dash with plenty of versatility. He played safety as a true freshman, moved into the slot as a sophomore, and was named First Team All SEC as the team’s star cornerback. He boasts the ability to play in both zone and man and should remind plenty of Patriots fans of Logan Ryan.
Dawson joins a crowded cornerback room, alongside Stephon Gilmore, Jason McCourty, Eric Rowe, Cyrus Jones, and Jonathan Jones. McCourty and Rowe are free agents after this season, while both Jones’ are coming off season-ending injuries. Cyrus Jones, the team’s second round pick in 2016, is not guaranteed a spot on the roster.
As a rookie, Dawson should compete for time as the nickel corner because the Patriots lack someone capable of defending the quicker receivers. Dawson will hopefully take a leap and be able to compete for a starting job opposite of Gilmore in 2019.
The Patriots made three trades in the second round, ultimately giving up the 43rd and 63rd overall picks for Duke Dawson, 105th overall, and a 2019 second round pick. This doesn’t skew either for or against the Patriots- they essentially punted a second round pick another year in exchange for a fourth rounder- but it’s good to see the math written down.