Welcome to the winning team, McCourty (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
One round of picks in the books, and now it's back to me. I can't imagine that the first round shocked too many people, as the two most versatile players came off the board right away. While part of me thought that Greg would just plain buckle under the pressure and grab Zoltan Mesko, he proved that he has been to the dance before by selecting Julian Edelman with his first pick. Nobody can really argue that Edelman is the most versatile player currently on the Patriots roster, and while he isn't a top-level talent at any of the positions he played last season, I'm guessing Greg's logic in picking Edelman is that he wanted to get a jack of all trades player first, and then build some talent around him. A decent strategy, no doubt; in no way will it pay off, but it's still a decent strategy.
There are several directions I could go with my next pick. There are still a lot of great players out there, and it's important not to overthink things at this stage in the draft. Everyone knows how Bill Belichick feels about round 2, and seeing as how he's the greatest
criminal mastermind coach of our time, he has to be on to something. So, I tried to put myself under the hood for this pick and ask myself what Belichick would do.
And then I realized that Belichick would most likely either trade the pick to Greg for his fourth rounder and a first rounder next year or select Britt Davis and leave us all wondering what the hell he was thinking, so I just went ahead and picked Devin McCourty.
The big knock on McCourty is that he has very little experience as a receiver. However, as the team's best cornerback (in spite of last year), receiver is a position he understands very well. He is familiar with almost every kind of receiving route, has a grasp on the ins and outs of the position, and shouldn't have too much trouble running those routes himself. He doesn't drop too many interceptions that come his way, which gives me confidence in his catching ability, and he is one of the fastest players on the team. I have no problem using McCourty as my second or third receiving option, and he is someone the defense will definitely have to account for. He also has the agility and quick hips to make him a viable option at running back as well.
On defense, I now have a legitimate cornerback to provide solid coverage against any of Greg's receiving threats. I can play McCourty at cornerback or safety, and even send him in off the edge if I get the feeling Greg is going to try and catch me sleeping with the Annexation of Puerto Rico play. Let's not forget that McCourty was also a four down player in college where he played on the punt and kick blocking teams, and he was a fairly solid return man. So, in McCourty, I have a legit number one corner who has potential to shift into the safety slot, a fast, agile receiver, and my punt/kick returner for when I force Greg to go three and out over and over again.
His versatility aside, what really drew me to McCourty with this pick is his athleticism. McCourty is hands-down one of the most athletic players the Patriots have. Not only does he have great speed, but he's agile, tough, can jump high, and has fast feet. He played point guard in high school as well, which might be where his strong, reliable hands came from. It's amazing what great athleticism will compensate for on the field, and I feel confident that McCourty's inexperience at receiver has nothing on his sheer physical abilities, especially in a game where he doesn't have to worry about getting leveled by an oncoming linebacker. A player with fast, flexible hips can make those flags dance like he has a belt full of the wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube men you see at car dealerships, which of course begs the question: do you feel confident trying to grab onto a wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube man? I didn't think so.
Your pick, Greg. And in case you're struggling as to what to do next, I have a suggestion for you.