Patriots first round draft pick Devin McCourty is fast. Faster than a speeding bullet? Not really. But if you saw McCourty on ESPN’s recent pre-draft web series Sport Science, you might reconsider the hackneyed phrase.
In the three-minute segment, host John Brenkus and his team of physiologists and ESPN lab technicians strap hypersensitive gizmos to McCourty’s body, measuring various levels of speed, torque, and inertia.
The results may surprise you. Testing with NFL elite rookies Jahvid Best, Ndamukong Suh, Tim Tebow, and Jason Pierre-Paul, McCourty reached a top speed of 19.6 miles-per-hour during his 40-yard dash.
Best, recently drafted by the Detroit Lions, ran a 4.35 at the NFL Combine, the fastest of any rookie running back. In Sport Science, Best maxed out at 18 mph. Yes, Devin McCourty is faster than Jahvid Best. It doesn’t stop there.
“Of all the skills a [Defensive Back] has to have,” asks Brenkus, “What’s the single most important?”
McCourty replies, “He has to be able to change direction. Fast.”
On the field, McCourty has a triple line of vision. Stepping back into coverage, a cornerback initially reacts to a receiver’s route, shifting eyes of an opposing QB, and ball release, all within a matter of seconds.
“You need quick feet,” says the Patriots 27th overall draft pick. “You need to have straight line speed, and be able to go right, left, forward, or backwards.”
ESPN made him do just that. Devin’s next experiment sent him back-pedaling 20 yards, testing the speed of the Scarlet Knight. Through careful analysis, the ESPN lab discovered McCourty runs backwards 80% as fast as he runs forwards.
So how do you take your McCourty? Straight up with a 90-degree twist? It only takes him six tenths of a second to hit his pace. Dirty.
3rd quarter is heating up at Foxboro, with the Indianapolis Colts setting up on the Patriots own 20-yard line. Two tight-end set for the Colts, Manning alone with Donald Brown in the backfield. Slot receiver to his right, TE goes in motion. Manning takes the snap, play-action fake, Brown picks up the run-blitz for Manning as he rolls to his right. Holding, holding, fires towards Austin Collie …
For the time it takes Manning to choose a target on his five-step drop, it’s taken Devin McCourty 66 hundredths of a second to shift directions downfield. In hot pursuit of a game-changing play, McCourty has the pick-six in clear sight, faster than you can say, “Let’s Go Insurance Adjusters.”
A Special Teams maven, McCourty is an aggressive, physical rookie nickel back with speed and astute thinking. There is no doubt Devin is ready to impact this Patriots secondary. Fast.