When the Patriots selected Devin McCourty with the 27th pick in 2010, many fans were stunned.
A year later, they are rejoicing.
The former Rutgers star proved to be another home run in Bill Belichick’s draft lineup as he recorded a team-high seven interceptions and was selected to the Pro Bowl.
McCourty brings a unique blend of speed and physicality that will remind many fans of Ty Law back in his heyday.
It’s safe to say, McCourty has one side of the field locked down, and he should only get better with more experience and hopefully a better pass rush.
Unlike 2009, and to a degree 2010, the depth at cornerback is very good entering the season.
Veteran Leigh Bodden, the team’s top corner in 2009, should return as a starter opposite McCourty.
Bodden doesn’t have dominant physical traits, but is a savvy nine-year veteran who has recorded 18 interceptions, including 12 in the past three seasons.
In a somewhat surprising move, Belichick opted to keep the 33rd
selection in the 2011 draft and took Ras-I Dowling from Virginia.
The 6-foot-2, 200 pound cover man was pegged as a top-20 talent, but had an injury-plagued senior season.
Dowling may be the most physically-talented corner on the roster, as he combines great size with terrific speed (4.40) and athleticism (38-inch vertical, 10-foot-8 broad jump, 19 reps on the bench).
That rare blend of size/speed presents the possibility of a move to free safety, although Dowling was announced as a cornerback when he was selected.
Regardless, he has plenty of talent and should be a starter within two years.