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Thursday, December 15, 2011
Scouts Inc. on Devin McCourty

By James Walker

No player in the AFC East is suffering from a sophomore slump more than New England Patriots second-year cornerback Devin McCourty.

Last year, the 2010 first-round pick recorded seven interceptions and made his first Pro Bowl as a rookie. This year McCourty has zero interceptions and often gets beat in coverage, which includes last week's touchdown catch by Washington Redskins receiver Jabar Gaffney.

What's happened to McCourty this season? We check in with our resident scout -- Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. -- to get his take.
"I thought McCourty was great last year, and I don't know what his issue is this year. I thought he was going to be a star in this league when the season ended last year. If it wasn't for [Detroit Lions defensive tackle] Ndamukong Suh, McCourty was right in line for Defensive Rookie of the Year. But McCourty is just a step behind now. It's not like I can say 'He's doing this wrong or he's doing that wrong.' But he’s clearly not the same player he was a year ago, and the Patriots were counting on him. McCourty was going to be the foundation of their defense."

New England's defense is ranked last in the NFL, allowing 424.4 yards per game. The Patriots are also last against the pass, in large part because McCourty hasn't developed into the shutdown corner New England expected in his second season.