Patriots Third-Year Pro Called Team’s ‘Best-Kept Secret’

Getty Kyle Dugger

If the analysts and NFL experts are correct, the 2022 season will be a big one for New England Patriots‘ third-year safety Kyle Dugger. Multiple publications have predicted a breakout year for Dugger as he and the Patriots defense attempt to build a few new pillars on that side of the ball.

While Dugger is definitely being discussed on some websites and blogs, Bleacher Report’s Gary Davenport still considers Dugger the Patriots’ “best-kept secret.”

Davenport wrote:

“Over the first two seasons of his professional career, Kyle Dugger is probably best known for hailing from tiny Lenoir-Rhyne University. But if the 2021 season was any indication, by the time the 2022 campaign has come and gone, Dugger will be known as one of the league’s top young talents at safety.”

Potential Problems and Successes For Dugger and the Patriots Secondary in 2022

Things started to click for Dugger in 2021. He played in 15 of the Patriots’ 17 games with 13 starts. He had 4 interceptions, 5 pass breakups, a fumble recovery, and 92 tackles. He also doubled his approximate value statistic from 3 to 6 in his rookie season. Based on those strides and expected increased command on the field in 2022, it’s logical for Davenport and others to predict a big year from Dugger.

While Dugger is a safety capable of playing against the run and in pass coverage, his impact on the field can also be affected by the play of the cornerbacks on the roster. That position has arguably the most question marks for New England.

Malcolm Butler is expected to be the team’s top corner. Rookie Jack Jones will probably push Jalen Mills for the other spot, while the nickel job could come down to Jonathan Jones and another Jones rookie in Marcus Jones.

Inexperience and a lack of cohesion could make the secondary (corners and safeties) play poorly and may well impact the entire defense.

Patriots Notes and Quotes

  • Can Damien Harris Become One of the Top-10 Rushers in Patriots History

The answer to that question that was spawned in a Sports Illustrated article written by Kevin Tame Jr., is yes. Harris currently has 1,632 yards rushing in his three seasons with the Patriots.

He has yet to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark, but he has inched closer in the last two years. If he breaks through and can rush for 1,285 yards or more, he will pass LeGarrette Blount for 10th on the Patriots’ all-time rushing list.

The Patriots’ top-10 rushers are as followed:

  • 1 – Sam Cunningham 5,453
  • 2 – Jim Nance 5,323
  • 3 – Tony Collins 4,647
  • 4 – Curtis Martin 3,799
  • 5 – Kevin Faulk 3,607
  • 6 – Don Calhoun 3,391
  • 7 – John Stephens 3,249
  • 8 – Corey Dillon 3,180
  • 9 – Larry Garron 2,981
  • 10 – LeGarrette Blount 2,917


  • Patriots Safety Adrian Phillips Weighs in On Thor Love and War

Phillips, a big Marvel movie fan, announced on Twitter that he’d seen the new Thor movie.

Phillips rated it a 7/10 and doubts that Marvel will be able to consistently capture the magic they had with the Infinity War portion of their plots.

Phillips liked it more than Dr. Strange, but not as much as Thor Ragnarok.

If you’re a Patriots and Marvel fan, you just might want to follow Phillips on Twitter for some good comic-book movie conversation.

Follow the Heavy on Patriots Facebook page, where you can weigh in on all the latest Patriots-related breaking news, rumors, content, and more!


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