Tag Archives: Devin McCourty

Patriots’ Draft Analysis

By TJ Souhlaris

The NFL Draft is one of the most unpredictable events in sports, along with the NCAA basketball tournaments (well, except for the UConn women winning it all), and everybody’s favorite game, “Who is Roger Goddell Going To Suspend Next?” Now that the draft is complete, it’s time for everybody to attempt to rate and analyze the draft. Basically, everybody can be an expert for a day, as not even Miss Cleo can predict who is going to pan out and who is going to be the next Ryan Leaf or Ki-Jana Carter. Any day I can sound like an expert is going to be a good one, so today, I announce myself “Mr. Patriots Draft Analysis Expert.” Just let me have my glory. Anyways, on to the show.

The first move the Patriots made wasn’t a pick, but a trade. The Patriots sent their 22nd pick to the Denver Broncos—who ended up taking Georgia Tech receiver DeMaryius Thomas—for the Broncos’ 24th pick and a fourth round pick. New England wasn’t done dealing, however. After this, the Pats moved their newly acquired 24th and their 119th pick to the Cowboys for their 27th and their 90th. So, in the end Patriots looked like this:
Received-27th pick, 90th pick, 113th pick
Sent-22nd pick, 119th pick

On paper, that doesn’t look too shabby. And with that 27th pick the Patriots selected:
Devin McCourty-CB, Rutgers-5’10,” 193 pounds

To be honest, I didn’t really know a ton about McCourty before the draft, as the only time I had really heard of him is a few days before the draft. However, what I do know is that the Patriots needed to boost their shoddy defense, and McCourty is a player that can step in and contribute immediately. The first-team All Big-East defensive back is an animal on special teams, having blocked seven kicks in his collegiate career. Seven! McCourty possesses a rare combination of instincts and athleticism, something that every Patriots fan knows is right up Bill Belichick’s alley. Durability isn’t a question with McCourty, as he has started every game for the past three years for the Scarlet Knights. To cue my inner Mel Kiper, the kid can flat-out play. Initially, I was hoping New England would take Boise State corner Kyle Wilson, as I was more familiar with him, but the more Mr. Patriots Draft Analysis Expert—I’m now going to refer to myself as Mr. PDAE—it seems like as much as a solid, safe pick as you can make. Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano claims that McCourty will be “as good as Darrelle Revis.” Hey, even if he’s not, I still like this pick a lot for the Patriots.

New England didn’t have to wait too long for their next selection. In the second round, after more trading shenanigans, at the 42nd pick, the Patriots selected:
Rob Gronkowski-TE, Arizona-6’6,” 264 pounds

I love this pick. In my draft preview article, which I’m sure all of my true fans read, I mentioned that Oklahoma tight end Jermaine Gresham was on my wish list. Well, New England couldn’t land the big Sooner, so they took the next best thing—Rob Gronkowski. Gronkowski may have the best hands of any tight end in his class, and with his huge frame, he is going to be a force to be reckoned with down the seam for linebackers and corners, especially in the red zone. Gronkowski was a third-team All-American in 2008, after hauling in ten touchdowns for the Wildcats. The biggest question concerning Gronkowski is going to be his ability to stay on the field. Gronkowski missed the entire 2009 season with a back injury that involves big words like herniated, yet his overall talent was still good enough to land him in the second round. With the departure of Benjamin Watson, a big play tight end was something New England needed, and they got their man with this pick.

Just a mere eleven picks later, at 53, the Patriots selected:
Jermaine Cunningham-OLB, Florida-6’3,” 266 pounds
Initially, like the McCourty pick, I wasn’t really sure how to feel about this guy. With other players like fellow Gator Carlos Dunlap and Penn State linebacker Sean Lee still on the board, I was little confused as to why the Patriots would select a player with a Scouts Inc. rating of only 66 in the second round. Although he did have seven sacks last season, and 18 in his collegiate career, one stat stuck out in my mind: he only had 29 tackles his senior year. This seems like an absurdly low number in my opinion, as even McCourty, who is a cornerback, wrapped up nearly three times as many opponents as Cunningham. Cunningham will give the Patriots an added pass rush, and may end up being a poor man’s Brandon Graham, but I just feel like Lee or Dunlap would have been a better pick here.

And with the Patriots’ final pick in the second round, at 62, they selected:
Brandon Spikes-ILB, Florida-6’3,” 249 pounds
Mr. PDAE is going wild right now. Spikes, the four-year veteran at Florida and two-time national champion might be one of my favorite players coming out of this draft, even though I hate Gator Nation with an immense passion. Spikes has been a mainstay on just about every sportswriters’ All-SEC list since 2007 and most national awards lists since ’08. His biggest asset is probably his instincts, but he is athletically gifted as well, especially strength-wise. Durability isn’t really a huge issue, and neither is his pedigree, as his cousin is former Pro Bowl linebacker Takeo Spikes. I guess his average speed is why he dropped to the second round, but in my eyes, he is going to be a stud and a great linebacker in Patriot Blue for years to come. Naturally, I’m probably throwing a huge jinx on him and he will get cut in the preseason. In my preview article, I wrote that “if the Patriots can scoop him up late in the second round, it’s just unfair.” Spikes was the 30th pick of the second round. I’m a genius! Harvard, here I come.

After what seemed like an eternity for the next pick, the Patriots time on the clock finally came with the 90th pick. New England selected:
Taylor Price-WR, Ohio University-6’0,” 204 pounds
Price gives the Patriots some wide receiver help, but it’s not likely that a small school guy will come in and make instant contributions. On tape, Price looks like just the type of player that the Patriots want: a burner on the sideline, one that can extend the field for Brady. However, the only problem with this is that the Patriots already have Brandon Tate, who basically has the same exact skill set. Not a bad pick for the Patriots, as most of the big name receivers were already gone at this point, with the exception of Mardy Gilyard. Hopefully, Price will be able to develop into something more than just a “home-run hitter,” as he does have a decent build for a wide receiver. By the way, I’m officially retiring the phrase “home-run hitter” when we’re talking about football. I’ll have a petition ready in a few days to send to every sports writer in America. Let’s make this a movement.

Day 2 came to an end, but Day 3 provided NFL fans some more drama. The first pick that the Patriots had on the new day was in the mid-fourth round. With the 113th pick of the draft, New England took:
Aaron Hernandez-TE, Florida-6’2,” 245 pounds
Great, another Gator. Personal vendettas aside, Hernandez is easily one of the best pass-catching tight ends to come out of the draft, which again, is something New England desperately needs. The Patriots may be trying to return to their Super Bowl days, where guys like Jermaine Wiggins, Christian Fauria and Daniel Graham were helping the squad win championships. Hernandez has pretty good size and speed, but his blocking is why so many teams passed on him. The Gator was a great producer in college, earning first-team All-American honors and going down in college football history as the primary receiver of many of Tim Tebow’s patented jump passes. Hernandez should be used in obvious passing situations, and will probably see the playing field right away. Plus, can you go wrong giving Tom Brady some more toys to play with? Nah, didn’t think so.

With no more picks in the fourth round, we move to the fifth, where the Patriots, with the 150th pick chose:
Zoltan Mesko-P, Michigan-You don’t really care how tall or how much he weight
Umm…he can kick the ball far and accurately and Chris Hanson doesn’t have a team. Let’s move on before I can make any corny Dude, Where’s My Car? jokes.
After that boring pick, the Patriots now have five remianing in the draft, four of which are in the final, seventh round. Let’s run through them.
Pick 205-Ted Larsen, Center, NC State
Pick 208-Thomas Welch, OT, Vanderbilt
Pick 247-Brandon Deaderick, DE, Alabama
Pick 248-Kade Weston, DT, Georgia
Pick 250-Zac, my parents forgot the “k” at the end of my name, Robinson, QB, Oklahoma State
Both Deaderick and Weston could see some time this season, as front-line depth is an absolute must, especially after losing Jarvis Green. The most interesting pick here is Robinson; considered to be a mid-round pick at the beginning of the college season, the mobile Pokey quarterback could be used rarely in trick packages—this is assuming, of course, he makes the team.

Overall, Mr. PDAE is very pleased with the Patriots’ draft. I think a B+ is a fair grade for New England. They addressed some needs (cornerback, wide receiver, pass-rusher) and even got some steals along the way (Spikes, Gronkowski). They even got one of the best named players in the entire draft (Zoltan Mesko!) which is always bonus points to me. Also, not only did they build a great draft through trades this year, they also didn’t give up much and ended up with four picks in the first two rounds in the 2011 draft (they already have the Raiders’ first-round pick next year due to the Richard Seymour trade). Although they may have missed with Cunningham, that’s the only real question I have when it comes to the 2010 NFL Draft. Frankly, we’re not going to know anything about this draft’s true quality for a year or two, but for right now, it’s looking solid. Expert for a day was fun and I can’t wait to be one again next year.

TJ Souhlaris is a Derry, NH native and is a freshman the University of Connecticut, majoring in Journalism. To contact, e-mail him at Thomas.Souhlaris@uconn.edu.

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PATRIOTS DRAFT RECAP


By Tim Scott

Amidst a flurry of draft day transactions where only one natural pick was active (in the 2nd round), the New England Patriots maintained a reputation of having a successful draft. They filled in all their needs, and in the process, drafted talented players who may help the team in the future.

The Patriots started their draft, trading down 5 spots to select Rutgers CB Devin McCourty with the 27th overall pick. Trying to fill holes on the defensive side, the standout CB with outstanding athleticism will have to compete with Jonathan Wilhite and Leigh Bodden for a starting spot in the Patriots secondary. His performance at the scouting combine should increase his chances. His 4.48 time on the 40-yard dash, and his 10.5 foot broad jump should be helpful during the grueling training camp experience.

Due to their multiple trades throughout the three days, the Patriots aided one of their larger needs, drafting Arizona TE Rob Gronkowski with the 10th pick of the 2nd round. This selection might be an important bargain for the Patriots, since tight ends Ben Watson (Browns) and Chris Baker (Seahawks) left the team via free agency. Despite missing the 2009 season with injuries, Gronkowski has the potential of making the AFC Pro Bowl team in a couple of years.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick’s strong connections with the Florida Gators sprung into action when the Pats selected DE Jermaine Cunningham with the 53rd overall pick. Cunningham, despite playing behind talented defensive players in the past, can still provide the Pats with quality assistance on defense. Cunningham is also a hybrid player that can also play outside linebacker, which role he can fill if the aging Tully Banta-Cain can’t provide. Most likely, Cunningham’s ceiling is as a Right Defensive End or an Outside Linebacker.

Nine picks later, the Patriots selected Cunningham’s teammate Brandon Spikes, who had a notable incident when he eye-gouged a Georgia player. Amidst the incident, he is a skilled middle linebacker that can help an aging core of linebackers with his skills and presence. If he can forget about the infamous incident last November, he can assure he’ll get playing time on a strong team.

Even though we hardly play them, the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans were our friends during the draft. They gave us 4 picks combined, and one of those selections was Ohio WR Taylor Price. This speedy wideout has similar athleticism like McCourty, only this kid can wreak havoc with the ball in his hands. Despite playing versus smaller competition, this kid can be considered a backup behind Randy Moss, and might share time with sensation Julian Edelman.

The New England-Florida bond continued when the Patriots drafted another tight end, in the form of Aaron Hernandez. He’ll be competing for time with Gronkowski and veteran Alge Crumpler. If you pin the two rookies against each other, you can both agree they can catch the ball well, but Gronkowski has more a blocking tendency unlike the catch-savvy Hernandez.

The need of a punter had the Patriots worried since Chris Hanson left the team for free agency. To relieve the pain, the team selected Michigan Wolverines punter Zoltan Mesko. He might not have much qualities, but he has a big leg makes him a respected playing in the 5th round.

In two consecutive rounds, the Patriots drafted two offensive linemen. In the 6th round, they selected NC State center Ted Larsen, who will provide backup to Dan Koppen, while in round 7, the selection was Vanderbilt tackle Thomas Welch. Both players will be possible aid to aging linemen Matt Light, Koppen, and Stephen Neal, so the chances of them being steals are likelier than those who backup players like Logan Mankins.

An aging defensive lineman need was what the Patriots tried to address, drafting duo defensive linemen from the SEC. Those two were consecutive picks in the forms of Alabama’s Brandon Deaderick and Georgia’s Kade Weston. Both players have chances, but probably won’t have many opportunities to excel in the NFL.

The Patriots rounded out the drafted by selecting Oklahoma State QB Zac Robinson with the 250th pick. Even though he threw the ball to Cowboys and former teammate Dez Bryant during his career, the QB was drafted low due to his lacking accuracy, and limited potential. However, his spirits will stay high as he has a chance to battle backup Brian Hoyer for the #2 QB spot.

In all, the New England Patriots had a successful draft, which I would give a B+ for. They filled in all their needs, and added some key players that can make a difference down the road.

Tim Scott is a General Blogger for BostonSportsu18.com. He can be reached at mlbtimmy8@cox.net

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Not Much “Value” in Recent Patriots’ Draft Strategy

By: Alex Reimer

Criticism of the Patriots’ draft, at least on my end, is not a referendum on the players they picked. I have no idea about Devin McCourty’s ability. He could be the next Darrelle Revis at corner (his college coach at least thinks so) and the next Devin Hester on special teams.

My critiques of the Patriots’ draft are a referendum on their overall strategy. A strategy, which once again, seemed to focus more on “value” and accumulating future picks than actually drafting good players.

The Patriots originally held the 22nd pick in the 1st round. They traded down twice to 27 in order to draft McCourty. Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas was taken at 22 by Denver, and receiver Dez Bryant was taken at 24 by Dallas. The Patriots, meanwhile, have a glaring need at receiver, and did not draft one until Taylor Price with the 90th overall selection. But with all of their moving down, they did pick up an additional 2nd round pick for next year! For some reason, this excites people. Who needs to draft the higher ranked players as long as you “work the board?” The team with most trades wins!

An example of “settling for value” was the selection of tight-end Rob Gronkowski out of Arizona in the beginning of the 2nd round. Gronkowski was the 2nd ranked tight end in the year’s draft. Jermaine Gresham was the 1st ranked tight end. The Patriots obviously felt tight end was a need, or they wouldn’t have drafted Gronkowski so early. Why not be bold and move up in the 1st to grab Gresham, the best guy available? Because that wouldn’t be good “value,” of course.

The obsession with “value” has already reared its ugly head in a lot of ways. By far one of the worst personnel moves of the Bill Belichick era has to be the decision to let Asante Samuel leave via free agency at the end of the 2007 season. It was deemed that Samuel was asking for too much money, and he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Since then, the Patriots have continuously attempted to replace Samuel at cornerback, and have failed to do so. They’ve thrown money at free agents such as Deltha O’Neal, Fernando Bryant, Shawn Springs, and Leigh Bodden. They’ve drafted Jonathan Wilhite, Terrence Wheatley, Darius Butler, and now Devin McCourty. It’s been 3 years since Samuel left, and the Patriots are still allocating numerous resources, more than it would have taken to resign him, to try to replace him. This entire headache has occurred because he just wasn’t good enough “value.”

A curious decision of the offseason has been how passive the Patriots have been in regards to addressing the wide receiver position. With Wes Welker out until at least late November with a torn ACL, behind Randy Moss, the depth chart is weak. And no, even though Tory Holt on a one-year deal may be good “value,” he does not address their problems (just like Joey Galloway didn’t last year).

The only reasonable explanation for letting both Thomas and especially Bryant slip by in this year’s draft, and not making a run at neither Brandon Marshall nor Santonio Holmes (Marshall went to the Dolphins and Holmes to the Jets) is that the New England locker room was worse than even thought last year.

Bill Belichick feels like he lost control last year, and wants to regain that “Patriot way.” As talented as Marshall and Holmes are, they’re the typical…to be blunt, knucklehead wide receivers. Belichick doesn’t want to bring any more baggage into the locker room. That’s the only logical explanation, because Holmes was only had for a 5th rounder.

The Patriots entered this offseason with numerous question marks. To their credit, they resigned all of their significant free agents. But since then, they’ve done little to improve the team, at least on paper.

But at least they “worked the board!” Too bad that over the past several drafts, there hasn’t been much “value” in that.

Alex Reimer is the host of the Red Sox podcast, “Without a Curse.” “Without a Curse” is available on both www.thesportsstuff.com and in the iTunes store. Alex is also the host of “The Alex Reimer Show,” which airs every Saturday from 4-6 PM EST on 1120 AM WBNW Boston and www.moneymattersradio.net. Alex can be reached at, Alexredsox076@aol.com.

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2010 NFL Draft: Sam Bradford goes first to Rams, Patriots take Devin McCourty in first round

St. Louis selects Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford with the first pick in the 2010 NFL Draft on Thursday night at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. (Getty Images)

St. Louis selects Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford with the first pick in the 2010 NFL Draft on Thursday night at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. (Getty Images)

By Matt Serocki

After the first three picks in the 2010 NFL Draft, one thing was for certain – we were in for a head-scratching night of primetime NFL coverage.

Denver and New England traded spots a couple times and San Diego jumped to No. 12 from late in the first round.

Here’s how things played out on Day 1 of the 2010 NFL Draft.

Rounds two and three will be highlighted when Day 2 of the draft kicks off at 6 p.m. on Friday night.

2010 NFL DRAFT: FIRST ROUND

1. St. Louis – Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma

2. Detroit – Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska

3. Tampa Bay – Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma

4. Washington – Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma

5. Kansas City – Eric Berry, S, Tennessee

6. Seattle – Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State

7. Cleveland – Joe Haden, CB, Florida

8. Oakland – Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama

9. Buffalo – C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson

10. Jacksonville – Tyson Alualu, DT, California

11. San Francisco (From Chicago through Denver) - Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers

12. San Diego (From Miami) - Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State

13. Philadelphia (From 49ers through Broncos)- Brandon Graham, OLB, Michigan

14. Seattle (From Denver) - Earl Thomas, S, Texas

15. New York Giants – Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida

16. Tennessee – Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech

17. San Francisco (From Carolina)- Mike Iupati, OG, Idaho

18. Pittsburgh – Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida

19. Atlanta – Sean Weatherspoon, OLB, Missouri

20. Houston – Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama

21. Cincinnati – Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma

22. Denver (From New England)- Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech

23. Green Bay – Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa

24. Dallas (From Philadelphia through Denver and New England)- Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State

25. Denver (From Baltimore) - Tim Tebow, QB, Florida

26. Arizona – Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee

27. New England (From Dallas) - Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers

28. Dolphins (From San Diego)- Jared Odrick, DT, Penn State

29. Jets – Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State

30. Lions (From Minnesota) - Jahvid Best, RB, California

31. Colts – Jerry Hughes, OLB, TCU

32. Saints – Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State

Matt Serocki is a Blogger for Boston Sports U18. He is also a Sports Correspondent for The MetroWest Daily News. He can be reached at mattser82@yahoo.com.

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