Patriots first round draft pick Devin McCourty addresses the New England media during his conference call on Thursday, April 22, 2010. McCourty is a cornerback from Rutgers.
Q: Are you surprised to be taken by the Patriots?
DM: It wasn't really up to me. I didn't know … I didn't want to have too high hopes. I was just watching the draft and kind of just enjoying the moment of actually watching the draft with so much interest and excitement. I was just joking around on Twitter. I'm happy to be a Patriot right now. It's an incredible feeling. Me and my mom, we cried for a little bit. We're just so happy right now.
Q: Had you had contact with anybody from the Patriots before the draft?
DM: Actually, Bill Belichick had come to my school [Rutgers] for a coaches' clinic and he was going to fly right out after the clinic to see his son play in a lacrosse game. But we had an hour, we watched some film and we spoke for a little while. We had a real generic conversation, but he showed me some things on film, just watching and helping me out as far as being a player. With all of these meetings, my agent told me to take all of the meetings seriously and that you never know what's going to happen on draft day.
Q: Do you know Coach Belichick's son at all?
DM: I don't know him that well, I just know of him. I see him all the time at the facility because he plays lacrosse and [lacrosse and] football share the building.
Q: For some of us who don't know you, what kind of skills do you bring to the field? What kind of player are you?
DM: I'm just a guy that comes to play every day. Last year at Rutgers, I was able to play cornerback and help on special teams. I feel like I'm a guy that's going to compete every chance that I get, whether that's playing on defense at corner or on special teams. I think it's just been my ethic, ever since I got into college as a redshirt freshman; that's just working hard to build my way into the lineup.
Q: How much of a point of pride is your performance on special teams?
DM: I think it's very important. Coach [Greg] Schiano was always preaching how important special teams could be. He said that it might not be even with the amount of offensive and defensive snaps, but if you're just able to make some plays with special teams that might be the tie-breaker within a game. I think the plays I had on special teams sometimes were the tie-breaker in close games, so take it very seriously.
Q: How much familiarity do you have with the Patriots and their defensive system?
DM: Just from being able to watch some games on television on Sundays when we had off-days or games on Saturdays, I know a little bit just watching them from TV.
Q: It's been said that you kind of model yourself after [Jets cornerback] Darrelle Revis a little bit. How did that come about and how do you do that?
DM: Just because when you turn on the TV in [the New York] area on Sundays, Darrelle Revis is always on and then, when he was at Pitt, he was one of top corners in our conference when I was a sophomore or a junior. So when you have a guy in your conference that's that good and you play him once a year, sometimes I would just watch some film of him on defense. And I got to watch him on the Jets, especially in the playoffs; in my area, the Jets were always on TV. I got a chance to watch him and he's a pretty corner, so I just tried to see some things he does that I can add to my game.
Q: You mentioned the Big East. [Patriots cornerback] Darius Butler played at UConn, do you have a relationship with him since he's already here?
DM: I don't have a relationship, but I've seen him at a couple of things and spoke to him. Last year, my brother [Jason] actually spoke to him at the Rookie Symposium. We know of each other and just playing against each other for the last three years in college.
Q: The Patriots have drafted a lot of young defensive backs in the last few years. Do you see that as a chance to be a part of a growing secondary group that can be together for a long time?
DM: Yeah, just having a lot of young guys, we just have to come in and try to win. All I can be focused on right now — being a young guy — is coming in and learning from those guys that are already there and just trying to get better each time we step on the field.
Q: Did your brother have a message to you, as far as how to get through your first year in the NFL, or how to succeed?
DM: The biggest thing that he told me was that you first need to get used to the lifestyle of the NFL. He knows that it caught a lot of guys by surprise. And, with that lifestyle change, he said the biggest thing that he learned was that there a whole bunch of new things going on. You have to realize that football is the reason that your lifestyle is changing, it's still your job. So he said that you need to be able to be focused on playing football and doing the right things in football. You need to make sure that you're prepared every time you step on the field. He said that guys are a lot better, so you have to be mentally prepared.
Q: What was Coach Belichick's message to you when you spoke today?
DM: When I got on the phone, he said: 'Are you ready to be a Patriot?' And I said, 'Yeah, coach, I'm ready. I'm excited.' He said, 'That's good.' He said that they were excited to have me and that I was the next pick. I got to talk to Mr. Kraft and he told me the same thing — that they were excited to have me. I'm just happy be a part of this organization. I'm happy they selected me.
Q: What were you doing when the pick came down?
DM: I had actually run to the bathroom and I heard my phone ringing. They came banging on the door. They said: 'Answer the phone. Answer the phone.' As soon as I got out of the bathroom, I answered the phone and I was talking to Coach Belichick.
Q: Is it safe to say that you didn't see this type of scenario happening at the beginning of your NFL career?
DM: Yeah. [Laughs]