Draft preview: CB Devin McCourty

April, 16, 2010
4/16/10
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ESPNDallas.com will look at a potential Cowboys pick each weekday leading up to the draft.

DEVIN McCOURTY

School: Rutgers
Size: 5-10 3/4, 193
Position: Cornerback
Scouts Inc. rank: No. 4 at CB, No. 26 overall (scouting report)

POSITIVES
[+] EnlargeDevin McCourty
Rich Kane/Icon SMIDevin McCourty averaged 25.1 yards per kickoff return and blocked seven punts in his college career.
McCourty, a three-year starter whose twin brother Jason was a rookie for the Tennessee Titans last season, is a well-rounded cornerback who should be an immediate impact player on special teams. He has good speed, showing the ability to recover if a receiver gets separation, and he changes directions quickly and smoothly. He’s an intelligent player with an excellent understanding of route concepts, defensive schemes and positioning. He’s a big hitter by cornerback standards who does a good job in run support. He averaged 25.1 yards per kickoff return and blocked seven punts in his college career.

NEGATIVES
His size can be a disadvantage against big receivers, especially on slants and crossing routes, on which they can use their frames to shield him from the ball. He also struggles in jump ball situations when he’s at a height disadvantage. He sometimes has difficulty getting off blocks when he’s facing bigger receivers. He doesn’t have great ball skills or hands. He didn’t create many turnovers in college, picking off only six passes.

COWBOY FIT
The Cowboys have two Pro Bowl cornerbacks and a solid slot man in Orlando Scandrick. Do they need another corner? Absolutely, especially with Terence Newman (32 in September) getting up there in years. Drafting a corner would allow Alan Ball to focus full-time on free safety, and McCourty ought to be able to make his presence felt immediately on special teams. The Cowboys could either take him at No. 27 overall or move down a little bit and hope that he’s still available.

RUTGERS HEAD COACH GREG SCHIANO
“He’s a great player and an even better person. He’s as reliable as they come. Having coached that position in the league, I can tell you that’s a guy a secondary coach can count on. He’s a student of the game, a detail guy and has all the physical attributes necessary. …

"He actually enjoys contact, which is a rarity at that position. And he’s a great [special] teams player. He does it all. He’s a great kick returner, blocked seven kicks in his career and is the best flyer [on punt coverage] I ever coached. Peoples’ answer was to put double-press on him, and he’d still beat them and make the play. … He can really run. He’s got great catch-up speed, but he understands the importance of footwork. He’s an NFL-level technical player coming out of college. …

"We would put him on the opponents’ best receiver and he’d usually shut them out or give up only one catch. I don’t think he had a deep ball on him all year. … He’s a great nickelback. Good blitzer, too. … He was a great offensive player in high school as a running back and wide receiver. He has a great feel for the ball and, when he gets his hands on it, he’s dangerous. He’s a quick-twitch type of guy.”

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