By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Patriots added a young cornerback with good upside to its roster post-trade deadline – from their own draft class. Rookie Duke Dawson, who went on injured reserve before the start of the season, has officially been activated to the 53-man roster, according ESPN’s Field Yates.
Per Yates, the Patriots have also released linebacker Nicholas Grigsby and running back Kenjon Barner.
Dawson, the 57th overall pick in the 2018 draft, was quickly rising up the depth chart in his first training camp. He saw plenty of practice reps as the starting slot cornerback. A hamstring injury set him back in the summer, which ultimately led the Patriots to place him on IR to get him right.
The rookie out of Florida has been practicing with the team in recent weeks, indicating that his activation was imminent. He’s the first player to come off IR this season, with running back Rex Burkhead likely to be the second. Burkhead won’t be eligible for activation until Week 13 against the Vikings, but recently returned to practice. Since Dawson hasn’t played this season, he had been eligible for activation since Week 9.
Jonathan Jones has been the Patriots’ primary slot corner in Dawson’s absence, and has had an up-and-down season. Dawson figures to push him for snaps against inside receivers. But it also wouldn’t be surprising if it took a few weeks for Bill Belichick to feel comfortable putting him on the active roster at all.
Dawson joins fellow rookies J.C. Jackson and Keion Crossen in a somewhat promising youth movement at cornerback under Stephon Gilmore and Jason McCourty. As the team’s second-round pick this past April and a player who looked poised to start right away, Dawson could have a chance to make a real impact on the defense down the stretch.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. 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 email@example.com.