McCourty, a first-team All-Big East performer in 2009, not only has shutdown corner capabilities, but he’s also dynamite on special teams, excelling in both punt and kick coverage and as a kick returner, where he averaged 27.9 yards a return during his senior season.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pounder was rated by some teams to be on par with — or even slightly ahead of — Florida’s Joe Haden, who went seventh overall to the Cleveland Browns.
Originally owners of the 22nd overall pick entering the draft, the Patriots first traded that pick to the Denver Broncos to move down to the 24th spot.
For that 22nd pick, New England received Denver’s fourth-round pick (No. 113 overall) in addition to pick No. 24.
The Patriots then traded that No. 24 pick and a fourth-round pick (No. 119 overall) to the Dallas Cowboys for their first-round pick at No. 27 overall and a third-round pick (No. 90 overall).
With the 22nd pick, Josh McDaniels and the Broncos selected Demaryius Thomas of Georgia Tech, a big wide receiver. ESPN’s Ed Werder suggested that Thomas reminds McDaniels and the Broncos of now-departed wideout Brandon Marshall in terms of his skills, size and ability.
With the 24th pick, the Cowboys snagged Dez Bryant, the highly touted wide receiver out of Oklahoma State.