If an NFL coach could manufacture the perfect safety prospect in terms of size and speed, it would be Kyle Dugger. The late bloomer Division II stud grew into an intriguing developmental prospect in his time at Lenior-Rhyne. He posses scary size for his position with the longest arms and biggest hands out of any defensive back at the combine. At 217 pounds he flew for a 4.49 40 and leaped 42 inches vertically.
Dugger shined as a defensive back but posses the athletic profile to make him a defensive weapon. With the Giants having potential holes at linebacker and safety, a player like Dugger can slot in nicely to Patrick Graham’s defense.
Prospect: Kyle Dugger Safety Lenoir Rhyne
Games Watched: vs. Tusculum (2019), vs. Saint Augustine (2019), vs. Carson Newman (2019)
Red Flags: None
Games Played: 42 games played
Total Touchdowns: 7
Tackles For a loss: 6.5
Forced Fumbles: 6
Best: Athleticism, explosiveness, range
Projection: Starting safety with positional versatility
Safety prospects with the athletic makeup of Kyle Dugger don’t typically come from Division II. Dugger has a rare blend of size, speed, and explosiveness that will make any coach’s mouth water.
Like any talented small school prospect, Dugger was blatantly the best player on the field. Without even knowing where he is pre-snap you can easily find him once the play starts. Once the play ends, he’s almost always within at least a yard of the ball.
At the NFL Combine, Dugger ran well for a larger safety, but his actual game speed seems much faster than a 4.4. With his elite speed, Dugger flies upfield to chase down ball carriers. He’s fast enough to meet players at the line of scrimmage from his full safety depth. Occasionally, Dugger is too fast to the ball he will over pursue and miss the angle.
Unlike some defensive backs, he’s very willing to get his nose dirty and will even seek out contact. Because of his athletic advantage, he planted ball carriers with back-breaking hits. He even decleated would-be blockers. He won’t be able to do this on an NFL field, but that functional strength can be coached up to make him great at disengaging blocks.
Dugger does need to improve his tackling. He loves to make the big hit, but sometimes that isn’t always necessary. This led to whiffs and misses on tackles. His overall tackling technique needs to improve, but it should not be a major issue in his development.
When the ball is in the air, Dugger reads and tracks the ball well. With the handful of interceptions he had in his career, you can see his background as a kick returner.
Overall Grade: 6.5 Projected Starter
Overall, Dugger is an incredible athlete that dominated Division II players. However, it’s clear Dugger is relatively raw and unpolished. Commonly, small school prospects won’t be fully developed when they leave school. There will be a slight learning curve for Dugger as he learns how to play more complex coverages and diagnose confusing offensive plays in front of him.
He has rare traits that cannot be coached, making his development promising. Once Dugger is comfortable, he’ll be a quality starter. Thanks to his size and length, Dugger can be used in many different ways by defensive coordinators. If needed he can line up in the box as an outside linebacker and shifted in the slot to cover receivers.
The first half or full season of Dugger’s career will have growing pains. Once he reaches the peak of his potential he’ll be a disruptive force.