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Dexter McDougle playing with focus and determination

By Luis Tirado Jr.
FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 25: Dexter McDougle #23 of the New York Jets reacts before a game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on October 25, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 25: Dexter McDougle #23 of the New York Jets reacts before a game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on October 25, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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Cornerback Dexter McDougle has been impressive so far in training camp and preseason action for the New York Jets. It’s easy to see why he’s focused and determined.

Entering his fourth season with the New York Jets, this is it for cornerback Dexter McDougle. Unfortunately for him, injuries have defined his NFL career so far. To date with the Jets, McDougle has only totaled one tackle and a pass defended. No, that isn’t a typo.

McDougle was a third-round pick back in the 2014 NFL Draft and hasn’t been able to stay healthy to make any kind of impact in games that actually matter. This time around, McDougle has been stepping up in training camp and even against the Detroit Lions in Week 2 preseason action, is living up to his potential.

Against the Lions, McDougle totaled a pass defended, a tackle, and brought some solid pressure when he was blitzing. Preseason games are meaningless but considering how limited McDougle has been on the gridiron with his teammates, it undoubtedly meant a lot.

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Throughout the offseason, McDougle has been extensively working out and training himself for this very moment. It’s no secret that many have written off McDougle to even make the final roster of the Jets but he lost a lot of weight (down from 207 pounds to 196 currently) and has noticeably gained more speed.

One can tell he’s taking things even more seriously entering what could be his final year with the Jets if he doesn’t prove his worth. From a torn ACL injury to hamstring issues early on in his career, this is a step in the right direction for McDougle as if he keeps things up, should make the final roster. It’s also easy to see McDougle earn some playing time during the regular season in sub packages. He’s not starting material at the moment but can easily spell relief for those ahead of him on the depth chart.

Perhaps McDougle’s tired of all the criticism from fans and analysts throughout the years that he’s been labeled a draft bust. Or it could be the fact that the new culture set by the coaching staff to do whatever it takes for the benefit of the team have gotten to him to push the envelope. Either way, he’s focused and determined to make this season finally be one worth remembering.

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