Whenever the Patriots, the perennial standard of the NFL, make important moves you take notice. And in this case it involves former Gators DB Duke Dawson, who they drafted in the second round last. Dawson, the 56th overall pick, agreed to terms on Wednesday on his four year deal.
The Patriots made the move official late in the afternoon:
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) May 16, 2018
While terms were not released on the contract, going by the premise of salary slotting of rookie salary cap and the range of picks 54-58 in the draft last season, the average overall salary of those players was around $4.5 million dollars. So, it’s almost certain that Dawson’s money is the same this year.
New England chose to trade up in the second round on night two of the draft with the Buccaneers to acquire the 56th pick.
Here was Dawson’s breakdown going into the draft from NFL.com
He played in every game as a reserve in 2015 (10 tackles, forced fumble) before starting seven games as a nickel back (24 tackles, 3.5 for loss, one interception, led the Gators with seven pass breakups)–waiting to turn to be a full-time starter after corners Jalen Tabor and Quincy Wilson depart for the NFL. Dawson got his chance in 2017, garnering first-team All-SEC honors by starting all 11 games, collecting 34 stops, two for loss, a team-high four interceptions and nine pass breakups. His strong, compact build makes him an excellent tackler and his hand-eye coordination allows him to knock away passes at the last second.
Dawson was one of the few bright spots in a 2017 season that saw the Gators fire coach Jim McElwain after their late October blowout loss to Georgia.
He does come out of the mold of Tabor and Wilson, as the NFL.com item mentions.
Dawson ran a 4.48 forty time at the NFL Scouting Combine in February. And, he obviously fills a need for the Patriots, who allowed former Superbowl hero Malcom Butler to depart via free agency. Butler signed with the Titans in March.
Dawson met with the media Tuesday afternoon, and immediately, talked about how excited he was to play for Bill Belichick: “Just learning from a great coach. Not saying that there aren’t other coaches who are great. Just coming in learning from a guy who has a very, very great background and history. Coming in and working hard every day.”
Clearly, Dawson fell into a great scenario to end up with a team that has played in the Superbowl three of the last four seasons, and his chance to play significantly is there.
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