Pro Football Focus has released their Top 101 player rankings for the 2016 season (76-101), with the Patriots free safety Devin McCourty placing 94th out of 101. McCourty is the Patriots longest tenured defender, drafted by the Patriots in the first round (27th overall) in the 2010 draft as a corner. After an up-and-down career at the position, the Patriots moved McCourty to free safety halfway through the 2012 season due to a rash of injuries that happened in the Seattle game that made Tavon Wilson infamous in New England. Since the move to free safety, the Patriots have had one of the best defenses in the NFL statistically. McCourty has developed a reputation for consistency and dependability at the position and is a perennial Pro Bowl caliber player.
94. Devin McCourty, S, New England Patriots (33)
Since moving from cornerback, McCourty has become one of the league’s most solid safeties, capable in all areas and with very few weaknesses to his game. 2015 marked another solid season, and saw him end the year with one of his best games, against Denver in the AFC Championship game in which he broke up a pass and made some nice plays in the run game.
Best performance: Week 5 at Dallas: +3.0 grade
Key stat: McCourty had the eighth-highest coverage grade for safeties at +8.0
The Patriots signed Devin McCourty to a 5-year contract in the last offseason that included the highest guaranteed amount in NFL history. McCourty turned in another solid season for the Patriots, playing 15 games and doing his usual thing. Pro Football Focus graded him as one of the Top 10 safeties in the NFL and second on the Patriots behind Patrick Chung. McCourty has amazing range as a center fielder type safety and allows the Patriots corners to play aggressively on the boundary in man coverage.
McCourty made some memorable plays of his own, including a Red Zone stop on a Jason Witten flat route against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 5. The Patriots captain continues to be the leader for a young Patriots secondary that was one of the best units in the NFL in 2015 and is returning every key player in addition to drafting Cyrus Jones with their top pick. The Patriots will continue to need McCourty's consistency and leadership to help continue the growth of the secondary.