McCourty under pressure in 2012

592680.jpg

McCourty under pressure in 2012

Among the offseason Patriots roster questions, there's an important one that has little to do with incoming rookies or free agents.

Which Devin McCourty will show up in 2012?

This, the exact query posed by NFL Network's Gregg Rosenthal on Wednesday morning.

"Bill Belichick is supposed to be great with defensive backs. But he's been mixing and matching with spare parts for too long," writes Rosenthal. "It's been a big weakness of the team for years. McCourty is the key to the whole operation. Belichick drafted him in the first round because McCourty is smart and versatile. He was supposed to reliable."

Instead, the rookie Pro Bowler and second team All Pro slumped himself into the free safety position as a sophomore. The Patriots appear to like McCourty enough to keep him around -- unlike former teammates Darius Butler, Leigh Bodden, Jonathan Wilhite, and Terrence Wheatley -- but the pressure is on.

Rosenthal has more on the secondary's "bellwether" here.

Ohio State LB on Belichick: 'When you first meet him, you're scared'

patriots_bill_belichick_112016.jpg

Ohio State LB on Belichick: 'When you first meet him, you're scared'

Even for some of the nation's top athletes, confident 20-somethings with the rest of their (perhaps very lucrative) lives ahead of them, there's a feeling you just can't shake when Bill Belichick walks into the room. 

"When you first meet him, you're scared," said Ohio State linebacker Raekwon McMillan, per WBZ. "He's quizzing you. It's like a little test. But after you get done with the test, the quiz or whatever, drawing up the defense, it's pretty cool. They're real down to earth people. Really cool."

Belichick was spotted at Ohio State's pro day getting a closer look at McMillan and his teammates on Thursday. He then headed off to Ann Arbor, Michigan for the Wolverines showcase Friday.

During various scouting trips across the country, the Patriots appear to be showing significant interest in the incoming class of linebackers. Belichick spent some extra time with Vanderbilt's Zach Cunningham -- who's projected to be a first-rounder -- at his pro day. The team reportedly scheduled a meeting with a speedy linebacker from Cincinnati. And Matt Patricia caught up with Notre Dame linebacker James Onwualu once his workouts finished up on Thursday. 

As for McMillan, the 6-2, 240-pounder was a second-team All-American and a first-team All-Big Ten choice. He's instinctive, but there's some question as to whether or not he has the strength to hold up inside at the next level.

PODCAST: Dan Wetzel on the Aaron Hernandez double-murder trial

patriots_aaron_hernandez_020315.jpg

PODCAST: Dan Wetzel on the Aaron Hernandez double-murder trial

Tom E. Curran has Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports as a guest to discuss the Aaron Hernandez double homicide trial. Wetzel has been in the courtroom, and wrote this piece about the day Hernandez’s former friend Alexander Bradley testified in court. 

After speaking with Wetzel, Curran has Tim Rohan of MMQB.com on to discuss his day with ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

SUBSCRIBE iTunes | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | AudioBoom

Quick Slants The Podcast is presented by Papa Gino’s.