The Oakland Raiders targeted mostly players from big D1 schools in the 2019 NFL Draft, but the Las Vegas Raiders should look a this small school prospect.
The draft process includes many prospects from glamorous powerhouse institutions, but it also contains potential stars from the lower ranks of college football. Here’s one small school product that fits the Raiders’ defensive needs.
Lenoir-Rhyne University isn’t exactly an NFL pipeline that sends players into the draft every season. In fact, many people just began taking notice of the university this season when Kyle Dugger put it on the map as he sent shockwaves throughout the scouting community.
There are many versatile prospects but few of the caliber of Dugger. During his career at Lenoir-Rhyne, the coaching staff lined up Dugger all over the field. The small school product grabbed the attention of scouting evaluators when he orchestrated his versatile ability while playing safety, linebacker, running back, and returning kicks.
His efforts were rewarded after the conclusion of the season when he received the 2019 Cliff Harris Award as the Division II defensive player of the year.
Dugger’s stock began to rise throughout the 2019 season, despite being a Divison II prospect, but many questions have followed him because of the lower level competition he’s faced. Dugger received an invite to the Reese’s Senior Bowl where evaluators got an up-close look at how his game can translate to the next level, and a chance to answer questions about facing high-caliber talent. Dugger showed out in the all-star game format, recording a team-high seven total tackles and one pass breakup for the South team.
Dugger’s game fits the Raiders’ defensive needs for obvious reasons. Last season, Paul Guenther’s defense lacked the ability to take away the opposition’s tight end and pass-catching running backs, and that’s an area that Dugger thrives in.
His skillset can be described as someone who plays a hybrid brand of football, which specifically has grown in popularity throughout the NFL. His combination of size and speed help project his draft stock around the back half of round two with potentially hearing his name called come the third round.
The Raiders currently don’t have any second-round draft picks, but with three third round selections they’re in the position to move up if the opportunity calls.
Dugger is set to be one of the 337 active participants at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis from Feb. 24 through March 1.