One thing that is usually predictable about the Patriots is their addiction to jiumping around the board, trading back to accumulate picks for the future, and also using some of those extra picks if they want to jump back up. Last night was the outlier because they made two picks with the picks they had, something that isn’t seen often in these parts.
Well, Belichick and Co. went back to being predictable, and they ended up landing some solid extra picks in the process. New England was on the board at #43, but they traded the pick for #51 and #117. When it was there turn to pick at #51, they traded down again, this time landing #104 (4th Round) and a 2019 2nd Round pick. Just when you thought it was a wait until pick #63, New England threw another curveball and traded UP, this time giving up the aforementioned #63, and also the #117 pick, one of the picks they just traded for to move up to #56.
With the 56th pick, New England selected Florida cornerback Duke Dawson. Dawson played all four years for the Gators, not receiving a red-shirt in any of his years in Gainesville. He played in 32 games for Florida, and finished his four years with 56 solo catches, 25 assisted, 6.5 tackles for loss, six interceptions (four in ’17), 17 passes defended, two forced fumbles, and three touchdowns.
Dawson, who is listed at 5’10, 208 pounds, is projected to be a nickel corner in the NFL, a position that has become crucial in the new wide open style of play. He can also step outside and cover bigger receivers, but he takes slot receivers away, and that is a huge advantage, especially on 3rd down, short conversions, and the red zone. Dawson also is a strong tackler that isn’t afraid of contact, so don’t be surprised if he is used as a safety in certain situations too.
Patriots fans may have a little bit of fear of smaller cornerbacks in the 2nd Round after the Cyrus Jones fiasco, but that doesn’t mean every 5’10 corner is going to be a bust. Dawson can play, and he’ll most likely earn some playing time in 2018.