Monday, April 19, 2010
Updated: April 21, 7:10 PM ET
McCourty would do fine at pick No. 29
By Andrew Marchand
What if the Jets could fool the draft? What if they could see what they were getting before they actually picked? What if they could watch a player's rookie year before he even played an NFL game?
That is what the Jets could have with Rutgers cornerback Devin McCourty. You see, McCourty's identical twin brother is already in the NFL. Jason, a sixth-round pick a year ago out of Rutgers, started three games for the Titans and will compete for a full-time corner job in 2010. It is almost like the Jets (and others, for that matter) can see the future.
"It has given them a preview," Jason said from Nashville.
The Jets have had success before with a Big East cornerback whose first name starts with a "D" and is known for doing things the right way. While he probably won't be Darelle Revis, Devin McCourty -- from Rutgers via Nyack, N.Y. -- could be the Jets' choice with the 29th selection in the first round.
Do you think he is a Rex Ryan type of player? Read how Devin's college coach described him.
"He likes to stick his nose in there," said Rutgers coach Greg Schiano.
Schiano added that Devin, who used to play safety, is as tough as they come.
Still, before Jason made an impact in the NFL, scouts viewed Devin as more of a fringe prospect. He had been an outstanding special-teamer, including an excellent returner, but Devin doesn't think many noticed until Jason did what he did.
"I think it has helped a lot," said the 5-foot-11, 193-pound Devin. "Coming into the season, no one was talking about me being a first- or second-round pick."
For Devin to be considered on par with his brother, he needed to first fall behind him. Coming out of Nyack, Schiano said colleges recruited Jason more heavily than Devin. After being dinged up his senior year of high school Devin redshirted as a freshman in Piscataway. Everyone involved thinks that was the best thing that ever happened to him.
"I know it really benefited him," said Jason, who, in hindsight, wishes he had had an extra year, as well.
That extra year has allowed Devin to mature, while watching and learning from his brother. He has leaned on Jason for advice on every aspect of preparing for the draft -- from the start of the season through the combine.
"I think having his brother in the National Football League has really helped him be a better player," Schiano said.
The two McCourtys have been there for each other since they were little kids. In 1990, when they were 3 years old, their father, Calvin, passed away at 34 due to complications from asthma that led to a heart attack.
Their older brother, Larry White, became a father figure for them. The heart of their family is their mother, Phyllis Harrell. She just retired as a nurse at Rockland Psychiatric in Orangeburg, N.Y.
On Thursday, they will all watch the draft together. They all hope Devin's experience will be better than Jason's, who had to wait until the second day to hear his name called in the sixth round.
"It was chaotic," Jason said.
For Devin, it should be easier. He very well could go at the end of the first round.
There the Jets will sit at 29. Ryan has a fascination with collecting corners, especially tough ones. But there are no guarantees, except that at some point there will be two McCourtys in NFL training camps.
Devin said he doesn't know what to expect Thursday.
"I'm anxious to find out," he said.
Teams may already know what they are getting. For one pick, there may be more certainty in the film. When they scout Devin McCourty, the story is: Remember the Titans.
|Devin McCourty's twin brother, Jason, was a rookie contributor for the Titans last fall.|
Andrew Marchand covers baseball for ESPNNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.