Bill Belichick Defends Surprise Devin McCourty Selection


Bill Belichick Defends Surprise Devin McCourty Selection FOXBORO, Mass. — It was going to be Devin McCourty all the way.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said he was ready to draft the Rutgers cornerback with the 22nd selection, but Belichick knew he could trade down, add a mid-round pick and still wind up with the Scarlet Knight at No. 27.

"Things came out about as well as we could have hoped for," Belichick said. "[McCourty] is fast. He's very tough. He's a good four-down football player — first, second, third and fourth down in the kicking game, certainly one of the top guys in the draft in that area."

The Patriots traded down twice — first to No. 24 and then to No. 27 — and added a third-rounder (No. 90 overall) in the process. They're now equipped with three second-rounders, one third-rounder, one fourth-rounder, two sixth-rounders and five seventh-rounders.

Belichick believed he read the draft board well enough to move back, get the top player on their board and add an extra asset in the process.

"We felt by backing off a little bit that we would be able to still make that pick, and that was the case," Belichick said. "We acquired, in the end, really a third-round pick for [Friday]. We felt like that was good value the way things turned out.

"If you can take a player at one point, and you feel like you can take that player at a later point and gain value somewhere else in the draft, why not do it?"

McCourty will enter a deep pool of Patriots cornerbacks, and he'll compete with Leigh Bodden, Shawn Springs, Darius Butler and Jonathan Wilhite for playing time. Belichick said, "Hopefully, they'll all contribute."

With a crop of talented pass rushers still on the board — Sergio Kindle, Jerry Hughes, Ricky Sapp and Jared Odrick, to name a few — when the Patriots had their original pick, Belichick was asked why he didn't address that area of the defense, which was a clear weakness for New England in 2009.

"Devin's ability to help the team on four downs, it's hard for me to picture a player that could do more than that," Belichick said. "There aren't too many players that can really impact a player on first, second, third and fourth downs. That gives him a lot of versatility and a lot of value. You may disagree, but I don't see it that way."

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