Rodney Harrison has been playing role in Kyle Dugger's development


When the Patriots selected Kyle Dugger in the second round a year ago, some compared the Lenoir-Rhyne product to Rodney Harrison because they play a similar style.

Well, it appears the team thought the same thing as when speaking to ESPN's Mike Reiss, Rodney Harrison revealed after the draft the team gave Harrison Dugger's phone number.

"Right after the draft, they gave me his number and I just called him. I reached out and talked to him," Harrison said. "Even this offseason, I text him and say, 'Hey, send me some clips you want me to look over of you in coverage.'"

He added: "[Coach] Belichick told me that he's been looking for a young kid who can come in and do a lot of the things that he basically asked me to do. Kyle can be that."

Dugger had a solid rookie campaign and figures to be even better in 2021 after having a full offseason in the system.

"I've been telling him 'You can cover. You just have to believe in yourself a little bit more. Don't give those tight ends free releases. Get up there and jam them -- you're a big kid, you're strong, so get up there and challenge them and don't make it easy for them,'" Harrison said. "In the pass game, I just want to see him play with more confidence. He just has to believe what he sees. I tell him, 'Believe what you see and go get it! Don't second-guess yourself! Be aggressive! You don't need to play careful.'

"In the run game, I think he's tough and he's starting to really see the line-block combinations; when the tight end blocks down and the tackle pulls, where he needs to go, where his proper fit is."

Harrison seems to think Dugger has a bright future.

"I love the kid, his attitude," he said. "He's such a humble kid, and he wants to be really good. He asks questions."

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