ROUND 4: Lenoir-Rhyne SS Kyle Dugger
6-2, 220 – Senior
Despite Licht investing a draft pick in three safeties – Evans, Edwards and Jordan Whitehead – over the past three years, there isn’t a clear-cut starter at either safety spot. So why not draft another one in Dugger, who is one of this year’s best small-school sleepers in the draft?
At 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, Dugger has impressive size suitable for the NFL, in addition to supreme athleticism, running a sub 4.5 in the 40-yard dash. Those measureables, plus his production – Dugger had 237 tackles, including 6.5 tackles for loss, 36 pass breakups, 10 interceptions, six forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries and two blocks at Lenoir-Rhyne – got him a well-deserved invitation to the Senior Bowl this year where he’ll get the chance to prove himself against much tougher competition. If he impresses in Mobile, Ala., watch Dugger’s stock soar.
In addition to being an enforcer-type of safety, Dugger is a tremendous punt returner, scoring six touchdowns in college with a mix of speed, elusiveness and tackle-breaking ability. Tampa Bay’s punt return game could use an upgrade after averaging 8.9 yards per punt last year.
Dugger’s Lenoir-Rhyne Career Defensive Stats
2015: 43 tackles, 4 INTs, 10 PBUs, 2 FFs, 2 FRs, 2 blocks
2017: 87 tackles, 4.5 TFLs, 1 INT, 7 PBUs, 2 FFs, 1 FR
2018: 76 tackles, 1 TFL, 3 INTs, 13 PBUs, 2 FFs, 3 FRs
2019: 31 tackles, 1 TFL, 2 INTs, 6 PBUs
Dugger’s Lenoir-Rhyne Career Punt Return Stats
2015: 4 returns for 23 yards (5.8 avg.), 1 TD
2017: 20 returns for 197 yards (9.9 avg.), 1 TD
2018: 31 returns for 534 yards (17.2 avg.), 2 TDs
2019: 12 returns for 175 yards (14.6 avg.), 2 TDs
The Bucs have a bunch of undersized safeties and Dugger would add some needed size to the secondary – in addition to his speed and play-making ability. Dugger might have to take a year or two to star on special teams while he learns how to play safety at the NFL level, but he has an intriguing skill set and the competitiveness to ultimately be successful on defense and potentially start.