Opening day countdowns are great. So are player profiles. Here at Musket Fire, we decided to combine them and create a Week 1 countdown-oriented, jersey number-dictated player profile series. A few days ago we looked at No. 33 Dion Lewis, and a few days before that it was No. 35 Jonas Gray. Because today marks 32 days until the New England Patriots open 2015, we are profiling No. 32, free safety Devin McCourty.
Selected by the Patriots with the 27th overall pick of the 2010 NFL Draft, McCourty is one of the few defensive backs in the Bill Belichick era to prove his worth as a first-rounder.
Through his first five seasons in the league, McCourty has started all 77 of the regular season games he’s appeared in, totaling 17 interceptions, 59 passes defended and 303 tackles. As both a cornerback and a safety, he has earned Associated Press All-Pro second team honors, indicating that he is one of the best all-around defensive backs in the entire league.
After starring at cornerback in his rookie year and making the AFC Pro Bowl roster at the position, McCourty endured a sophomore slump. His struggles in 2011 covering wide receivers one-on-one prompted the Patriots to try him out at free safety, where McCourty has flourished ever since.
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With five seasons in the Patriots’ defense under his belt, the Rutgers product is quite possibly the most important player the Patriots have on that side of the ball. He is the eyes, ears and voice of the defense. A significant injury to D-Mac would be devastating.
If it weren’t for McCourty’s timely interception of Joe Flacco in the Divisional Round, the Patriots’ season probably would have stopped right then. Thankfully, the Patriots are aware of the gem they have, as they didn’t let McCourty leave during free agency, signing him to a five-year, $47.5 million deal. By opening the wallet for McCourty instead of Darrelle Revis, the Patriots communicated how much they value No. 32.
McCoury is also one of the real good guys in the Patriots’ locker room. After the Boston Marathon bombings, he donated $100 dollars for every tackle and $200 for every interception toward recovery efforts. Along with his twin brother, Jason McCourty, D-Mac is championing a fight against sickle cell.
This writer is a proud owner of a McCourty jersey (from the Reebok era) as well as an autographed McCourty rookie card. Quite honestly, he is my favorite Patriot after Tom Brady.
In case you missed them, here are the profiles for No. 36 Tyler Gaffney, No. 37 Jordan Richards, No. 38 Brandon Bolden, No. 39 Travaris Cadet, No. 41 Dekoda Watson, No. 42 Xzavier Dickson, No. 43 Nate Ebner, No. 44 Matthew Wells, No. 45 D.J. Lynch, No. 46 james Develin, No. 47 Michael Hoomanawanui, No. 48 Geneo Grissom, No. 49 Joe Cardona, No. 50 Rob Ninkovich, No. 51 Jerod Mayo, No. 52 Dane Fletcher, No. 53 Eric Martin, No. 54 Dont’a Hightower, No. 55 Jonathan Freeny, and No. 58 Darius Fleming.