The New England Patriots’ second-round pick, Duke Dawson, could possibly return from IR. What impact could this have on the Patriots? Let’s dig deeper.

Draft analyst, Mel Kiper, had ranked Dawson as the eighth-best cornerback in the draft. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Duke Dawson returned to practice last Wednesday after being placed on IR with a hamstring injury before the season even started. He can practice with the team for 21 days. The Patriots will have to activate him in that time period or his season is over.


At Florida in 2017, Dawson totaled 34 tackles and posted four interceptions. He allowed a 37.1 passer rating with quarterbacks completing just 21 of 48 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns (24-7 Sports). The numbers that have to stand out is the 37.1 passer rating and the low completion percentage. One of the biggest problems for the defense is that teams are just able to complete passes consistently and move the ball; Dawson appears to be an immediate help to that.

Dawson played primarily the nickel back position in his preseason games. In college, he had allowed a 41.0 passer rating when targeted from the slot. Now, the Patriots’ current starting slot corner, Jon Jones, has not been playing bad at all; he even had a crazy one-handed interception versus the Bears. However, he has allowed one of the fewest passer ratings when targeted but also the second most yards out of all our defense. Dawson can maybe rotate with Jones to allow for a bit more efficiency in this New England defense.


Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Compact, strong slot corner who can beat up finesse receivers when he’s allowed to crowd and disrupt the route release. Dawson can match and blanket underneath, but hip tightness shows up when he’s forced to turn and run from a backpedal. Dawson can handle himself in man or zone coverage and is ready to work when run support calls. He has some length and speed limitations, but he has the instincts and cover talent to become a starting nickel cornerback. –

Clearly, Dawson can bring a tough, physical presence that can help the team immediately. New England traded up to draft him for a reason.