Devin McCourty says the ‘sky’s the limit’ for Patriots safety Kyle Dugger

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Kyle Dugger is quickly becoming one of the New England Patriots’ best defensive players.

Bill Belichick took a chance on the DII product in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, selecting him with the No. 37 pick. Dugger slowly learned and gained experience his rookie year — finishing with 64 tackles in 14 games. He played in 15 games last season and had four interceptions, five pass deflections, 92 tackles and five tackles for loss.

He’s one of the hardest hitting defenders on the field, but he’s extremely smart and can cover in any situation. Longtime veteran Devin McCourty discussed Dugger’s abilities on Thursday and gave him high praise.

“I love Dug,” McCourty said, transcribed by NESN. “The way he’s able to not care about what people are saying about him, what he’s done in the past — being a DII player — he doesn’t care about any of that. Dug shows up, can do everything, can play in the deep part of the field, can cover.

“Obviously, if you watched any of our games, you know he can knock your head off. I just love watching him grow. I think sky’s the limit for him.”

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McCourty believes Dugger carries all the characteristics of a player who can lead in the Patriots’ locker room.

“He works so hard and he has that mentality that young players don’t always have nowadays,” McCourty said. “He doesn’t really care where you rank him and all that, he just wants to win.

“He wants to do the right things on the field, and I think that’s the recipe not only to be a good player — especially in this system to be one of the better safeties — but also to be the leader of this team and of the defense going forward. Watching him develop and doing those things has been fun, and I can’t wait to see how he continues to develop in the future.”

The future is bright for the Patriots’ safety group with Dugger and Jabrill Peppers under the tutelage of McCourty and Adrian Phillips.

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