By Matt Noonan
Kyle Dugger is officially a member of the New England Patriots.
The former Lenoir-Rhyne University safety, who won the Cliff Harris Award last December, was selected by the Patriots this evening with the 37th pick in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Dugger becomes the most recent member of the Bears’ football program to be drafted since John Milem was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in 2000.
Dugger competed in 42 contests for the Bears, recording 237 total tackles, including 152 solo stops to go with 10 interceptions, six forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries, and two blocks. He returned 67 punts for 929 yards and scored six touchdowns.
The Decatur, Georgia native, who played in just seven games last season, secured first-team honors from both D2Football.com and the South Atlantic Conference (SAC). He was also named to the Don Hansen All-America team, securing a spot on the third team while securing a spot on the 2019 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II Coaches’ All-America Team.
Dugger and the Bears finished their 2019 season in first place in the SAC with a 13-1 overall record, including an 8-0 conference mark. Lenoir-Rhyne advanced to the third round of the NCAA D-II Tournament, but saw their bid toward a national championship dashed by West Florida, which went onto beat Minnesota State, 48-40, in the finals.
Dugger will join a Patriots defense that ranked first in the league last year in total defense (275.9 yards per game) and second in passing yards per game (180.4).