Patriots Nation was scratching it’s collective head when the New England war room chose Rutger’s CB Devin McCourty with the 27th pick in the first round.
The questions were many: Why a defensive back? Why not a wide receiver stud like Dez Bryant? Why not a linebacker?
Perhaps, Bill Belichick and his staff were clairvoyant? Maybe they had a crystal ball and could see Leigh Bodden going down with a season ending injury in the preseason. Or they called a psyhic network and asked about the lackluster future of Darius Butler.
They just knew they needed secondary help and Devin McCourty has been the answer.
In Bill we continue to trust.
McCourty in his rookie season has become a playmaker and leader on a young defense. He is a breath of fresh air from the disruptive personalities of Shawn Springs and Adalius Thomas that sunk the 2009 squad. McCourty leads by example by being a heady player and performing beyond his years.
McCourty has started all 15 games and has made an defensive impact on a consistent basis. He makes plays that turn the tide of games like his interception on Thanksgiving Day in Detroit. He has contained all world wide receivers like Calvin “Megatron” Johnson and Greg Jennings.
He has done it all with on the job training, and his peers have taken notice by voting him as alternate to the Pro Bowl.
But how does he stack up against the other great corners in Patriots history?
Devin McCourty could be arguably having the best freshman season for a cornerback in team history. As a rookie, his six interceptions are second only to hall of famer, Mike Haynes(he had eight interceptions in 1976). That is more than Patriot greats, Ty Law (three) and Asante Samuel (two) had in their rookie campaigns.
He started every game, only Haynes can claim that.
McCourty has “chipped in” with two forced fumbles and a sack. And one of the most impressive stats for corner is that he has 68 tackles and 13 assists. The numbers just say it all.
Samuel (59; career high) and Law (61; career high) can’t even touch those tackle totals (the tackle stat was not tracked until 2001) especially as rookies.
Devin McCourty is physical and he wants contact which is something that lacked in Asante Samuel’s game. He is a playmaker like Ty Law but with a bigger chip on his shoulder. He is consistent, gritty, and a bona fide leader like Mike Haynes.
And scariest thing is that McCourty is only 23 and he is only going to get better under Belichick’s tutelage.
He is already a Pro Bowler.
And if it wasn’t for Detroit’s Ndamukong Suh, he would be the defensive rookie of year just like Mike Haynes was in 1976.
The sky is the limit for the player that has already bought into the "Patriot way."
He quietly and effectively does his job.