The Patriots traded down with the Denver Broncos to 24th overall and added a fourth round pick (113 overall). At 24, the Patriots moved back again, making a pick with the Dallas Cowboys. The Patriots picked up the 27th overall pick as well as the Cowboys' third rounder (90th), giving up #119 overall in the process.
With the 27th overall pick of the 2010 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots selected Devin McCourty, cornerback out of Rutgers.
Patriots fans, take a deep breath, relax. The world isn't coming to an end. No, the Patriots didn't get Jared Odrick, Sergio Kindle, or Dez Bryant, but they did get a solid player.
Earlier today, I stated that I believed the Patriots, with three second round picks, had the luxury to take the best player on their board. That player was Devin McCourty. The Patriots also picked up a third round pick, and moved up six slots in the fourth round.
Devin McCourty is definitely a Patriots type of player. He has good size, at 5-11 193 lbs, and excellent speed, having run a 4.38 40 yard dash at the combine. He has excellent athleticism, is very fluid in the hips, and can make quick breaks on the ball. He is very willing to support the run as well. In coverage, he can do multiple things for you, whether it means playing up in man, or playing zone. He is also more than capable playing on an island on the outside. He is also a special teams demon; he can return kicks, play gunner, and even block field goals (seven in his Rutgers' career).
While McCourty has borderline 1st round talent, his character is what makes him a Patriots player. McCourty is known for being an on the field leader, a vocal one as well. He has a great work ethic, and is a very smart, instinctive player. These are all Patriots attributes.
On the downside, McCourty could use to add some weight to his frame. He isn't the most comfortable using his hands in press coverage. Overall, however, McCourty has the potential to develop into a #1 cornerback for the Patriots.
But how is he going to fit in?
The Patriots recently signed Leigh Bodden to a long-term contract extension, and he is the #1 for now. Across from Bodden, the Patriots have Darius Butler, the 41st overall pick from last year. Butler showed some promise in his rookie year, and he figures to start next year. After Butler, the Patriots have Jonathan Wilhite, Shawn Springs, and Terrence Wheatley. Wheatley, a second round pick in 2008, has really disappointed to this point, and will be fighting for his roster life come training camp. Wilhite and Springs were up and down in 2009, but should both have something to offer (although Springs could be on the way out with all of the young cornerbacks on the roster).
Pick Grade: B- (incomplete)
I'm not ready to finalize this grade yet, because it largely depends on what needs the Patriots can address in the second and third rounds tomorrow. If the Patriots can pick up a pass rusher, tight end, defensive end, and a running or receiver, this pick will be a great one. However, if the Patriots can't address those needs, this pick will certainly become a questionable one with the likes of Jared Odrick, Sergio Kindle, and Jerry Hughes on the board.