NFL Draft 2014: So you drafted Maryland's Dexter McDougle?

USA TODAY Sports

As Dexter McDougle embarks on his path to the NFL, we examine his path to and through his career at Maryland. McDougle has battled his way through trials through his career at Maryland, and he will use that learning experience to fuel his way onto an NFL roster.

From Falmouth, Virginia, Dexter McDougle hasn't had an easy path to stardom. McDougle came out of high school as a three-star recruit from notable recruiting services such as Scout and Rivals. McDougle wasn't even slated to be a corner according to Scout; he was ranked the 63rd safety in his class. Standing at 5'11" 180lbs, it was easy to see why McDougle went so unheralded.

In his freshman season at Maryland, McDougle played in eleven games for coach Ralph Friedgen, making 22 tackles but not notching a singling interception. It was easy to see what there was to love about this player: he was a tackling machine. While McDougle needed to work on his coverage, it was evident the hard-working McDougle would work his way up the depth chart.

With his sophomore season came a switch in coaches, as Randy Edsall took over for the departing Friedgen. McDougle would have his best season to date, notching three interceptions and 44 tackles, with 2.5 of those tackles coming for a loss. His junior season would be impressive in a different way, with the star corner showing off his tackling skills, notching 71 tackles in the 12-game season. However, the highlight of McDougle's career would come in a season he didn't even get to finish. In his senior season at Maryland, McDougle would see his final season cut too short, only playing in three games. He was still able to make an incredible impact, grabbing three interceptions and returning one for a touchdown before a broken collarbone ended the promising season.

Even with such a short senior campaign, NFL scouts took notice and a promising NFL career became a reality. McDougle possesses sound technique and an underrated play-making ability, something teams will value late in the draft. It's not unreasonable to think that if McDougle had been able to play a full senior season and kept his production up, he could be a high-end pick in this draft.

Unfortunately for McDougle, he did not have the chance to show his ability in its entirety in his final eligible season, and his draft "stock" took a hit. There is enough to watch on tape, however, to see that Dexter McDougle is an NFL corner. The smooth hips and ability to jump the passing lane has long been an ability of McDougle's, but he started to display that consistently early in the 2013 season. With an ability to tackle and play the ball in the air, McDougle is the type of prospect teams will target to stash away for the future.

While McDougle only played three games last season, the one thing you like to see in a prospect is progression. McDougle certainly got better with each season at Maryland, and the sky appears to be the limit. McDougle isn't the biggest corner, but he plays like one with his compact size and athletic ability to make up for misplayed balls. If McDougle doesn't miss the majority of his senior season, he is a second round pick. With him missing so much time due to injury, McDougle will likely fall into the 5th-6th round range, and a team may have found a diamond in the rough.

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