New England Patriots: Ranking the top defensive starters for 2018

HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 05: Devin McCourty
HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 05: Devin McCourty /
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1. Devin McCourty, Free Safety

The epitome of professionalism, consistency, and production lands McCourty No. 1 on this list. After playing eight seasons with the Patriots, McCourty has proven to be the stalwart of this defense.

Having only missed five games in his entire career with New England, his amazing athleticism, and durability are rare at the position.

The uber-talented free safety is one of the best in the NFL, combining technique, defensive instinct, and hard work to become the best defender on this squad.

He collected 80 total tackles and a combined 97 with one interception during the 2017 season, considering the woes of the defense the past two years, McCourty led his backfield and kept them competitive, especially when the field was shortened.

The Patriots ranked fifth in scoring defense because offenses could not score on them as easily as they tallied yards. Due largely to the work of the cornerbacks and safeties keeping dangerous receivers covered.

I Expect McCourty to have another impressive season provided that most of the key players on defense stay healthy.

The backfield took a hit with the loss of Malcolm Butler, but the collective effort of the McCourty twins with Chung should be adequate to weather the storm.

Next. 53-Man Roster Projection. dark

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