With Devin McCourty off to retirement, Kyle Dugger is expected to become an even bigger part of the New England Patriots’ defense. If so, he might be able to shed a label given to him by Pro Football Focus: underrated.
Dugger was recently named the Patriots’ most underrated player — one “who might not be a household name but still plays a key role in whether or not their team succeeds.”
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: S KYLE DUGGER
2022 PFF Grade: 78.4
Dugger took a big step forward in 2022 after a promising first couple of seasons as a second-round pick out of Lenoir. Out of 63 safeties who logged at least 700 defensive snaps last season, Dugger ranked eighth in terms of overall grade and was one of four safeties to post 75.0-plus grades defending the run (76.7) and in coverage (78.3). Dugger was especially good at making plays defending the run near the line of scrimmage. Out of 65 safeties who played against the run on at least 250 plays last year, Dugger ranked first with an average depth of tackle of 3.87 yards.
A second-round draft pick in 2020, Dugger projects as a starting member of the Patriots secondary yet again. Entering the final year of his rookie deal, he will therefore get plenty of opportunities to prove his value to the team and the rest of the NFL.