Jason McCourty heard his name called 169 draft slots after Patrick Chung.
But the cornerback out of Rutgers has gotten to close the gap with the safety out of Oregon in more recent years. Both members of the 2009 NFL rookie class have shared the same New England Patriots secondary since March 2018, when McCourty was acquired via trade from the Cleveland Browns.
It is a secondary that Chung has spent 10 of his 11 pro seasons in.
“I mean, you talk about a guy who’s been in the league for so long and also has been in the same defense for so long,” McCourty told reporters during his video conference Wednesday afternoon. “Pat is a guy that plays so many roles throughout our defense that you can ask him a question, almost about any position, from D-line stuff to linebackers to safeties, and he’ll pretty much know the answer.”
Chung stands with 141 appearances and 112 starts for New England in the regular season. He has started 19 of his 22 appearances in the postseason. A total of 819 tackles and 4.5 sacks have been accrued in the process. As have a pair of forced fumbles, a handful of fumble recoveries and 11 interceptions.
“I think when you have a guy that’s that smart and then you mix it, obviously, with his ability, you have to be pretty athletic,” McCourty added of the 5-foot-11, 215-pound Chung. “Obviously, he’s a bigger, stronger guy that can play those roles. He’s been huge.”
Chung’s tenure has stretched from the deep half to the kicking game and from the slot to the box. It’s brought a trio of Super Bowl rings and a spot on the Patriots All-Decade team.
And for the former second-round arrival who once spent 364 days with the Philadelphia Eagles, it continues.
Chung is under contract through 2023 after reaching his latest Patriots extension this May. The move netted a signing bonus of $3 million while opening a reported $925,000 in cap space.
McCourty had his $500,000 roster option exercised earlier in the offseason.
“I know for me, getting here over these last few years, Chung came in the league the same year as I did,” he said. “It’s been fun to be able to be in the same meeting room, talk football with him and get to know him.”
McCourty, twin brother Devin, and Chung will turn 33 in August as the eldest members of New England’s defense.