There is no debate over the fact that some of the best football players are members of the New England Patriots.
The Pats have one of the strongest secondaries in the league and the ability and versatility of safety Devin McCourty have played a great role in their success.
McCourty went from being an All Pro cornerback to an All Pro free safety, and was even asked to play a little more of a hybrid safety role as Duron Harmon played more of the deep safety position in three-safety sets.
There aren’t many other players who can offer as much flexibility as McCourty, who is able to play at a high level wherever he lines up. That’s one of the reasons why Pro Football Focus ranked him the 4th-best safety heading into the 2018 NFL season.
He is a valuable member of the New England Patriots and has remained loyal to them since being drafted with the 27th overall selection in the 2010 NFL Draft. Initially a cornerback, the former Rutgers star moved to safety during the 2012 season and has been dominant ever since, reaching an elite PFF grade of 90.5 or higher three times.
McCourty trails Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith, New York Giants safety Landon Collins, and Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas (who is currently holding out for a new contract or a trade).
The Patriots captain isn’t as flashy of a player as those other three, having 3 interceptions, 17 passes defended, 1 forced fumble, and 2 sacks. He’s only been to one Pro Bowl since his All Pro rookie season at cornerback. And yet, he’s such an important part of Patriots team and defense.
The Pats don’t need the statistical production to see how valuable he is to the team. Ever since he moved to safety, the Patriots coverage ability flipped a switch and became one of the best in the league. He easily deters quarterbacks from throwing in his direction and if needed, he has no problem in covering any offensive player the other team puts on the field.
2018 will be a great year for McCourty and he’ll live up to this top 5 billing.