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Thursday, April 22, 2010
Instant analysis: Devin McCourty

By Mike Reiss

FOXBORO -- The Patriots must improve their pass rush, and the selection of cornerback Devin McCourty isn't going to be the answer to doing that.

This pick appears to be a clear case of the Patriots going with the best player on their board and not reaching for a need. McCourty is a solid player -- both defensively and on special teams -- and you can never go wrong picking solid players.

But if the Patriots don't address their needs at defensive end and outside linebacker later in this draft, within the next two rounds, that should lead to some concern.

So the key here, it seems, is waiting for the second round to play out to see how the Patriots complement McCourty.

The Patriots have Leigh Bodden and Darius Butler as their projected starters at cornerback, and McCourty should help immediately as a No. 3, 4 or 5 option. His presence could affect veteran Shawn Springs and third-year players Jonathan Wilhite and Terrence Wheatley.

This pick highlights how Wheatley, a 2008 late second-round draft choice, hasn't panned out.

Another factor to consider is what the Patriots passed on, and gained, from dropping from 22 to 27. That topic is explored here.