Howe with a great write-up on Dugger's story. The entire article is worth a read, but I thought this nugget was interesting. Pats may have been worried about Carolina taking Dugger at pick 38. Panthers were heavily scouting the kid, which makes sense since he was in their backyard.
The Bills (picking at No. 54 overall), Steelers (No. 49) and Panthers (No. 38) all showed the most interest, and every member of the Panthers front office visited Hickory last season, according to the Lenoir-Rhyne coaches.
Meanwhile, the Patriots had a presence on campus but never tipped their hand. Cronic, Brock, Cole and Shields couldn’t recall a single conversation during the vetting process.
But the Patriots knew something because they traded back from No. 23 to 37, right in front of the Panthers, and director of player personnel Nick Caserio said they identified Dugger as one of three players they hoped to get during the second and third rounds. If they didn’t take him at No. 37, they probably weren’t getting him.
He was barely recruited. He spent six years on a little-known college team. Then slowly but surely, NFL scouts had to start taking notice.