McCourty a Top 10 Corner After One NFL Season

Devin McCourty. Source:

ESPN has continued its countdown of the top 10 players at each position with their weekly power rankings, and this week they posted their top 10 corners. The Patriots’ first round pick last year, Devin McCourty, cracked ESPN’s corner back power rankings, coming in at #8. That’s quite an impressive feat for McCourty after just one season of work. The highest vote he got was for 5th-best from ESPN AFC East blogger Tim Graham and  received no vote at all from ESPN NFC South blogger Pat Yasinskas. There were quite a bit of players, 13 to be exact, that did not get ranked but received votes from at least one of the judges. Here is the complete Top 10 list:

1. Darrelle Revis, New York Jets
2. Nnamdi Asomugha, Oakland Raiders
3. Charles Woodson, Green Bay Packers
4. Asante Samuel, Philadelphia Eagles
5. Champ Bailey, Denver Broncos
6. Antoine Winfield, Minnesota Vikings
7. Tramon Williams, Green Bay Packers
8. Devin McCourty, New England Patriots
9. DeAngelo Hall, Washington Redskins
10. Cortland Finnegan, Tennessee Titans

Power Rankings shouldn’t be career-achievement awards,” said AFC East blogger Tim Graham. “Devin McCourty was second-team Associated Press All-Pro, a first-team Sporting News All-Pro, voted a Pro Bowl starter by the fans, coaches and players and tied for second in interceptions. He deserved to be ranked ahead of Bailey, who wasn’t mentioned for All-Pro and made the Pro Bowl as an injury replacement.”

Graham, as I mentioned above, had McCourty ranked the highest at #5. Pat Yasinskas, who didn’t vote for McCourty at all, provided his reasoning for leaving McCourty out.

One great season does not make a great career,” Yasinskas said. “Let’s see him do it again. I’m not saying he’s got to do it for 10 or 15 years. I’ve got a guy in my own back yard, Ronde Barber, and a lot of people say he’s already put up Hall of Fame numbers. I didn’t even put him on the list because I think he’s not much more than a very nice player in the system. But you have to be consistently at the top for at least a few years before you get on a top 10 list.”

I have to agree with Graham’s line of thinking. Power rankings are based on the team or player that’s currently performing the best, not performed the best years ago or what have you. McCourty was one of the best corners in both technique and statistically last season, and deserves a spot on the list. If he has a down year and does not perform well in 2011, then he will likely not be ranked in the top 10, and rightfully so. Stanford Routt, the Raiders corner not named Nnamdi Asomugha, received the highest vote of the non-ranked corners, receiving a #6 vote from John Clayton.

Nnamdi has years of not being thrown on,” Clayton said. “He’s had years in which only 14 or 15 passes were caught against him in a season. Routt had a phenomenal year in 2010, which led to his big contract. The percentage of passes against him that were completed was among the lowest in the league. His job is tougher because he has more passes thrown on him because of Nnamdi.”

Clayton’s analysis and high praise of Stoutt is something to keep in mind come Week 4 when the Patriots visit Oakland. Of course, Darrelle Revis was the top vote-getter, and the Patriots will see him at least twice when they play the Jets (Weeks 5 and 10). The Patriots will also see Asante Samuel (ranked 4th) Week 12 and Champ Bailey (ranked 5th) Week 15.

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