While perusing NFL Draft prospect videos of this year's cornerback crop, I stumbled upon Devin McCourty's 2010 selection analysis. The video began with commissioner Roger Goodell announcing New England's pick at 27 overall.
NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock broke it down:
"He may be the best special teams player in the entire draft. He's a return guy that's a gunner and a jammer. He's sudden, quick, and physical. He'll compete for some time in your nickel and dime coverage.
"You know Bill Belichick, they're always cognizant and prioritize their special teams. This guy had seven career blocks. He returned punts and kicks for touchdowns"
Did he have the right McCourty?
Devin became an every down cornerback in New England. His seven interceptions, 13 passes defensed, and 82 tackles earned him a Pro Bowl berth. His second NFL season was a letdown: a separated shoulder; zero interceptions until the Patriots final two regular season games; the second-most surrendered yardage in the league.
But for all the numbers, good and bad, one category stands out: special teams. In two seasons McCourty has a single kick return to his credit (24 yards). McCourty averaged 25.43 yards per kickoff return (one he took 98 yards for a touchdown) his senior year at Rutgers.
True, it's a dangerous job for 2010's best Patriots corner. But the team ranked No 29 in kick return average (21.4 yards) last season.
And what about the gunner skill? McCourty had 23 tackles for the punt coverage unit and 27 for the Scarlet Knights kickoff coverage squad. As Mayock noted, he blocked six punts and one field goal. Maybe Week 10's shoulder injury limited his involvement. Maybe not.
Anyone remember the special teams work of the 2010 Draft's "best" asset? Enough to say he took the field at times. When and what he did, however -- no.
The question is why.
With the NBA trade deadline in the rear view mirror, the Celtics will have to turn to the buyout market if they are looking to make changes to their roster.
Talking to CSN Celtics Insider A. Sherrod Blakely, Danny Ainge explained why signing players who have been bought out can be a risky move for a team like the Celtics.
“We’ll weigh each guy that comes on the market and see if that can be a boost to our team,” explained Ainge. “At the same time, I like our team. Bringing in new players sometimes messes up your whole chemistry, and it shifts somebody into a different role that they’re not accustomed to doing. You better know what you’re getting.
“We brought in Michael Finley, Sam Cassell. . . PJ Brown turned out to be a very good asset to us. Most of the time it sort of disrupts things. At the end of the year you go, ‘wow, we probably shouldn’t have done that.’ Even though on paper it looked like a great acquisition, it wasn’t as good as everyone thought it would be.”
BOSTON -- Isaiah Thomas has been a major draw on the floor most of this season which is what you expect from a 5-foot-9 guard who is a two-time All-Star.
And while his game is usually what sets him apart, it was a pair of social media messages that sent the NBA world abuzz with what many thought was a coded message regarding a Boston Celtics trade.
As it turned out, the Celtics decided to stand pat at the trade deadline with a roster that’s getting healthier. But that didn’t address what many were wondering.
What was up with those emoji eyeballs, something Thomas had not tweeted since last summer around the time Boston landed Al Horford.
Thomas wasn’t trying to pass along any free agent clue or anything of the like, he said.
“I was watching a TV show,” Thomas said.
He also posted one of an hour glass.
“Time is ticking man,” Thomas said.
Thomas had no idea that what he thought was a seemingly harmless tweet, would generate so much attention and speculation afterwards about the Celtics who were once again square and center in the trade rumor mill.
“I didn’t (know) until I did it and then I realized the whole world was talking,” said Thomas, grinning after the team’s first practice following the all-star break on Wednesday. “I didn’t mean to shake the internet like that. I didn’t mean to do that to y’all.”