Duke Dawson: Watch Him Closely

After last Thursday’s game versus the Lions, I wrote about how Duke Dawson was the biggest loser in that night’s game for the Patriots.

Duke Dawson got beat in coverage last night and was responsible for a too-many-men and holding penalty. None of this is certainly ideal. He did not appear ready for this game and fans can only hope that he picks it up soon.

He also struggled in joint practices this week and has had an up-and-down camp. While he can still develop and writing him off might be too soon, Dawson certainly has not stepped up to the task this offseason and concerns about his future are totally warranted.

Later, word came out that Dawson still did not look good in Monday and Tuesday practices, up in Foxboro.

Limited Opportunities, Very Limited Impact

Dawson really hasn’t had many opportunities to impress on the Patriots, but for the little time he has had in uniform, he has been nothing short of a disappointment.

Belichick’s Bad Luck

Belichick’s luck with second round secondary players has not been great as of late. He picked Jordan Richards in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft. A year later, he picked Cyrus Jones in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft. After a year of not having a second round pick, due to trading for Kony Ealy, Belichick drafted Dawson a year later in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Needless to say, Belichick’s luck with second round picks has not been good recently. Right now, fans can only hope that Duke Dawson and Joejuan Williams, the team’s last second round picks, do not follow that pattern.

While it is way too early to talk about Williams’ future, Dawson may unfortunately  follow the trend of being a bad second round pick by the Patriots.

Poor Start to His Career

You can start to get a sense that Dawson is another bad Patriots’ second round pick.

While Dawson’s opportunities to impress have been limited, he has not only failed to impress, he has actually underwhelmed and weakened his status in those opportunities.

It also appears that he is struggling with a lot of the same issues he had in college, which should dramatically tamper down expectations of any real development from last year. Struggling with those same problems in year two of the NFL demonstrate not only that he has weaknesses that can be exploited, but also that his ability to learn and adapt may be limited.

Time May Be Running Out

Year two should be a time in which a second round caliber NFL corner these days has a solid ground and foundation to play meaningful snaps at a pro level. By no means does this appear to be the case for Dawson. Corners drafted before and ahead of him have already made their mark in the NFL, or at least had their name called. Dawson has been silent to the point where some Patriots fans forget he is on the team.

Dawson only has so much time left to get things right before the Patriots have no other choice than to move on.

What Can We Do?

In the meantime, we can watch Dawson play this Saturday versus the Titans. He should get a good amount of play time.

He could see some matchups with Titans’ rookie receiver AJ Brown.  And he will undoubtedly go up against Ryan Tannehill a little bit, who had a spectacular game last week for Tennessee.

While I did say that he can still develop, his time is running thin for him to do so.

Right now, as positive Boston sports fans, we can only be optimistic and hope for the best outcome. Let’s root for Dawson to have his strongest performance yet in a Patriots uniform.

Anything short of his ‘A’ game will result in really serious questions about his future with the team.

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