The Patriots made safety Kyle Dugger a second-round pick this offseason and head coach Bill Belichick gave an update on his progress during a Monday video conference with reporters.
Dugger is making the transition from Division II Lenoir-Rhyne to the NFL, which is a pretty big jump for a player in any season. It would seem to be an even bigger one without the benefit of OTAs in the spring or preseason games in the summer, but Belichick said he’s seen good things from Dugger as he’s gone through practices this month.
“Kyle’s a smart kid and he works really hard,” Belichick said. “He takes coaching well and you can definitely see improvement, I would say not only from day-to-day, but in some cases from play-to-play. I think he’s got a good understanding of football and he’s a pretty instinctive player, so when you tell him something, he usually understands what you’re talking about, especially if he’s had any chance at all to experience it before. There are some things that he just hasn’t seen that might take a little longer to explain to him, just because he’s not familiar with them. But, he’s very coachable, he picks up things quickly and the things that he hasn’t seen before, once he sees them and can understand what the conflict is or what the situation is that we have to address, he’s been very good to make those adjustments and handle it the next time.”
Belichick cautioned that “the wheel’s not spinning as fast as it’s going to spin” for Dugger in the coming weeks, so his trajectory could change in the coming weeks. So far, though, the rookie’s development would seem to be a positive for a team that saw safety Patrick Chung opt out of playing this season.