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BREAKING: Patriots place second-round rookie cornerback Duke Dawson on injured reserve

New England shuts down the rookie for now.

NCAA Football: South Carolina at Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

With their only day two selection of this year’s draft, the New England Patriots opted to bolster their defensive backfield by picking cornerback Duke Dawson. The Florida product’s NFL career started well, with Dawson receiving regular practice reps alongside the projected secondary starters over the course of spring session. On August 13, however, Dawson suddenly popped up as a limited practice participant.

While the reason for this was never reported, chances are the same hamstring injury bothered him that also made him a limited participant during yesterday’s practice – and one that will now cost him at least half the season, according to ESPN’s Field Yates:

Source: the Patriots have placed second-round CB Duke Dawson (hamstring) on injured reserve and signed WR Riley McCarron from the practice squad.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport shared some additional details shortly after the initial report:

The #Patriots have placed CB Duke Dawson (hamstring) on Injured Reserve, source said, and their plan is to bring him back midway through the season when he’s healthy.

While Dawson will likely return later during the season, he will be forced to miss at least eight weeks of action due to being placed on injured reserve. The Patriots are well-equipped to handle this loss thanks to the emergence of fellow rookie cornerbacks Keion Crossen and J.C. Jackson, but this is nevertheless a blow to the team and especially the first-year defensive back.

Dawson now becomes the fifth of New England’s nine draft picks this year to be placed on injured reserve. As opposed to Isaiah Wynn, Christian Sam, Braxton Berrios and Ryan Izzo, however, the 21-year old can be reactivated later down the line.

As noted above, Dawson’s spot on the 53-man roster gets filled by practice squad wide receiver Riley McCarron. The second-year man becomes the fifth pure wideout on the depth chart and could also be used in the return game. As previously reported, his spot on the practice squad gets taken by ex-Houston Texans tight end Stephen Anderson.