Day-after notes on Devin McCourty
|04.23.10 at 10:38 am ET|
After a short night, a few notes on new Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty:
Last month, I wrote a piece on how much emphasis the Patriots place on the 3-cone drill when it comes to evaluating wide receivers. Many of their draft picks at wide receiver over the last few years excelled at the 3-cone drill, including Julian Edelman, Deion Branch, Chad Jackson and Wes Welker all had dynamite times in the drill as collegians. Taking a look at McCourty’s combine numbers, guess which drill really stood out? Yep. He was second among all corners in the 3-cone drill at 6.7, bested only by Mississippi speedster Marshay Green.
You have to imagine Patriots special teams coach Scott O’Brien was the happiest guy in Gillette Stadium on Thursday night. McCourty’s numbers as a special teamer are even better than his numbers at corner — he’s blocked seven kicks in his career (six punts, one field goal). He’s worked extensively on punt- and kick-coverage, and as a senior became one of the best kick return men in the nation, averaging 27.91 yards per attempt. It remains to be seen where he will end up on the depth chart at cornerback as a rookie. But for a team that struggled to find consistency in the kick return game, he should get plenty of chances to compete as a kick returner.
While Rutgers coach Greg Schiano isn’t exactly a graduate of Belichick University, he has become closer with the Patriots coach over the last few years. In that context, it’s fair to say this pick could be classified with others like Logan Mankins (Fresno State) in that it comes from a program where Belichick knows and trusts the head coach. Schiano touched on the similarities between New England and the Rutgers program Friday morning with Dennis & Callahan.
“I really am happy for Devin. He’s going to a franchise that has a lot of similar core values that we had here,” Schiano said. “I can promise you once he learns their system and gets ingrained in what they’re doing, he’s going to have a real good career, a great career in the National Football League.”
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