New England Patriots

By Matt Dolloff,

The Patriots opted to trade down in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft twice on Friday, first trading the 43rd overall pick to the Detroit Lions in exchange for the 51st and 117th picks. Then, they moved the 51st pick to the Chicago Bears for the 105th pick and a second-rounder in 2019. But finally, they moved up, trading the 63rd pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for pick No. 56.

With that pick, they selected cornerback Duke Dawson out of Florida.

After spending his first three years with the Gators working his way up the lineup, Dawson started at cornerback in all 11 games and earned first-team All-SEC honors as a senior. He recorded 34 tackles, four interceptions, and nine passes defensed in his final year of college.

Dawson’s Draft Profile reads: “His strong, compact build makes him an excellent tackler and his hand-eye coordination allows him to knock away passes at the last second.” His size (5-foot-11, 197 pounds) and skill set will likely make him a slot/nickel corner at the NFL level, which fills a need for the Patriots defense.

Here are some of Dawson’s strengths, per

— Impedes receiver release with patient, mirrored footwork
— Football intelligence and instincts are a plus
— Digests route combinations
— Slant stopper
— Smothered Christian Kirk from Texas A&M
— Allowed less than 40 percent completion rate in each of the last two seasons
— Gritty and competitive in run support

And some of his weaknesses…

— Considered an average athlete in scouting circles
— Can get grabby
— Needs to crowd and keep a hand on his opponent
— Long speed is average
— Gives up some separation to burners
— Short arms stymie opportunities to challenge the catch downfield
— Missed tackles arise from trying to hit over wrap as a tackler

Dawson sounds a lot like a certain Patriots cornerback who just left via free agency to sign with the Tennessee Titans.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at

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