Devin McCourty and Leigh Bodden, New England Patriots' Super Bowl Caliber CBs

James DiMaio@@JamesDiMaioCorrespondent IAugust 12, 2011

Devin McCourty
Devin McCourtyHarry How/Getty Images

Coming into the 2010 season, the cornerback position for the New England Patriots was suspect to say the least. Having lost their top cornerback, Leigh Bodden, to a preseason shoulder injury, rookie Devin McCourty was thrust into a starting role while unproven sophomore, Darius Butler, assumed the other starting position.

Butler’s starting role was a disappointment in the 2010 season and he was soon replaced by special teamer, Kyle Arrington. Arrington did a commendable job, having racked up a season total of 71 tackles and a pick-six in a Week 15 match-up against the Green Bay Packers. While the "special teamer turned starter" was a great story, it was the stellar performance of once heavily criticized first round draft pick Devin McCourty that was turning the heads of Patriots fans across New England.

McCourty had a sensational rookie season registering 82 tackles, 17 passes defensed, and a stunning seven interceptions (good for second in the league). In addition to his astonishing athleticism, McCourty is also known for his diligent film study, high football IQ and excellent work ethic. McCourty was a Pro-Bowl selection and runner-up for Defensive Rookie of the Year; a promising start to a potential Hall of Fame career.

Speaking of careers, veteran Leigh Bodden has had a notably productive career at the cornerback position. Bodden has consistently performed at a high level but does not seem to receive adequate recognition for his play. Over his last five active seasons in the NFL, Bodden has been extremely productive. Bodden has averaged 61 tackles, 15 passes defensed, and 3 interceptions per season since 2005. Bodden had a terrific first season with New England in 2009, and by the season's end he had clearly emerged as the best cornerback on the team. Evidenced by a 4-year $22 million deal made at the start of the 2010 season, Bill Belichick seems to have ample confidence in Bodden's ability. It is likely that "The Hoodie" is looking forward to cashing in on his investment this upcoming season.

In considering elite cornerback tandems, McCourty and Bodden have the potential to emulate the deadly cornerback duo of Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams of the Green Bay Packers. Woodson and Williams both had terrific regular seasons in 2010 and consistently inflicted fear in opposing offenses. The two played a significant role in the Green Bay Packers 2010 Super Bowl Championship. While we have yet to see McCourty and Bodden together in action during a regular season game, they may be as productive as Woodson and Williams in the upcoming 2011 season.  Taking into account McCourty's 2010 stats and Bodden's 2009 stats (from ESPN.com), it appears that these players could also become Super Bowl caliber cornerbacks.

 SeasonTacklesINTsForced FumblesPasses Defensed
McCourty2010827217
Bodden2009555118
TOTAL 13712335
 SeasonTacklesINTsForced FumblesPasses Defensed
Williams2010576120
Woodson2010922513
TOTAL 1498633
      

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