- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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FOXBORO – Patriots president Jonathan Kraft said Friday that head coach Bill Belichick developed a strong liking for Rutgers cornerback Devin McCourty while going over Xs and Os as part of the pre-draft process.
“He watched film with him and talked football, and came away loving the kid,” Kraft said on sports radio WEEI’s “Big Show” today.
Talk radio has been buzzing in Boston and some fans seem upset with the pick. Kraft said he understood why fans might want a “sexier” pick, but he is convinced the choice is the right one.
Kraft touched on his thoughts on Oklahoma State receiver Dez Bryant being available at No. 22, and admitted he was excited at the thought.
“When you watched him run those routes and catch passes without a shirt on, you absolutely marvel and you say ‘I am of the same species?’ You look at him move, you look at his body, and does that excite you? It absolutely does. I totally get, from a fan perspective, why people would look at that and get excited,” he said.
“But we have three more picks in the second round and I think when you’re taking a pick in the first round, especially given what’s happened in our division – in terms of the types of receivers and the quarterbacks that are coming into it ... this kid is going to be a very good NFL player. We really feel that with great certainty. He also is a physical corner.”
Kraft added that “this draft is incredibly rich and deep, all across the board.” He noted a lot of that is part of the uncertainty surrounding the collective bargaining agreement and players wanting to enter the NFL before possible changes in 2011.
My opinion is that the Patriots will focus on an outside linebacker (Utah’s Koa Misi), tight end (Arizona’s Rob Gronkowski) and skill-position player (Mississippi’s Dexter McCluster) in the second round.