Rookie Watch: Pats' McCourty grows
On the Week 13 edition of ESPN's "Monday Night Football," the Patriots are hosts to the New York Jets in a huge AFC East showdown. The teams will have had a few extra days to prepare. Still, McCourty will be challenged by Jets receivers Santonio Holmes and/or Braylon Edwards.
The first-round selection (27th overall) entered the league with a reputation as an elite special teams player but has quickly developed into an excellent cornerback. The former Rutgers star is very physical with good size and strength. McCourty isn't afraid to mix it up with bigger wideouts or come up to stop the run. He also can play off coverage, zone or man-to-man. And the best is yet to come. New England really will have something at cornerback next year when they match McCourty with the expected return of injured Leigh Bodden.
Ranking Player, position (draft position) Last week 1 Sam Bradford, Rams QB (first round, No. 1)
Bradford got an elusive road win in Denver. He led the Rams to a big lead before the Broncos rallied to make things interesting. But this was his best game yet.
1 2 Ndamukong Suh, Lions DT (first round, No. 2)
The Lions' Thanksgiving Day game gave Suh a national audience. Detroit can line him up all over the formation and there isn't a defensive tackle in the league who runs better.
2 3 Dez Bryant, Cowboys WR (first round, No. 24)
In the Cowboys' loss to the New Orleans Saints on Thanksgiving, Jon Kitna threw Bryant's way but never connected. Communication might have been an issue between the rookie wideout and his quarterback.
3 4 Mike Williams, Buccaneers WR (fourth round, No. 101)
In the Bucs' loss to the Baltimore Ravens, it appeared that Josh Freeman needed one more weapon opposite Williams. But I can't hold that against Williams.
4 5 Devin McCourty, Patriots CB (first round, No. 27)
McCourty was one of the best players on the field on Thanksgiving. He is a cornerstone of the Patriots' very young, improving defense.
6 6 Jacoby Ford, Raiders WR (fourth round, No. 108)
I am a believer. This guy is a big-time playmaker who not only has tremendous speed but also is good with the ball in his hands. He's a better route runner than I originally thought.
NR 7 Gerald McCoy, Buccaneers DT (first round, No. 3)
McCoy is now getting to the quarterback with regularity, despite not being surrounded with high-end pass-rushers. McCoy keeps getting better.
10 8 Colt McCoy, Browns QB (third round, No. 85)
McCoy (ankle) didn't play last week against the Panthers, but Browns fans should be clamoring to get him back into the lineup after watching Jake Delhomme.
5 9 Maurkice Pouncey, Steelers C (first round, No. 18);
The Steelers were nearly upset in Buffalo, but Pouncey was a major reason RB Rashard Mendenhall was so dominant. The interior of the Steelers' line did have huge problems with Kyle Williams, but the guards were more to blame than Pouncey.
NR 10 Mike Iupati, 49ers G (first round, No. 17);
The 49ers dominated the hapless Cardinals. They did what they wanted on offense -- especially in the running game -- and Iupati looked great.
Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.
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