Duke Dawson’s competitive fire sparks comparisons to an ex-Patriots’ cornerback

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(David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

FOXBOROUGH -- Duke Dawson was not drafted by New England on Friday night to replace Malcolm Butler as a starting boundary corner — come 2018, that job is sure to fall almost exclusively to Jason McCourty.

But after watching the third-round pick out of Florida play as a collegian and considering the state of the Patriots’ depth chart in the secondary, it’s not hard to see that the New England braintrust might have seen the same sort of possibilities in Dawson’s game that initially attracted them to Butler four years ago: namely, a highly competitive defensive back who has the capability to grow into an every-down corner in the NFL.

In an ideal world? In Dawson, the Patriots found another Butler, with all of the same intensity, attitude and hair-on-fire sort of playing style -- but without the soap-opera baggage that dominated much of his last year-plus in New England.