The 2010 first-round pick had a dream Pro Bowl rookie season. But as a captain in his second year it turned to a nightmare in New England when McCourty was targeted by opposing passing attacks on a regular basis and seemed ill equipped to do anything about it.
By late in 2011 McCourty was seeing time at safety, playing deep center field for New England's much maligned pass defense. While some thought the move had more to do with a lack of depth/talent at safety, others wondered if it was some sort of sign about McCourty's NFL future.
Based on the start to the 2012 offseason, it looks like McCourty might be staying at cornerback. So far the Patriots have reportedly signed former Chargers free safety-type Steve Gregory and reportedly are hosting LaRon Landry for a Gillette Stadium visit.
While Bill Belichick and Co. have been signing/visiting with safeties, there have been no reports of the team getting together or showing interest in cornerbacks. In fact it's seemed that defensive line and safety have been the team's major priorities in the first week of free agent action.
We won't know what McCourty's future holds for sure until next training camp and preseason rolls around. A lot can change in free agency and the draft between now and then.
We also won't know if he can bounce back from his horrific sophomore season. But based on the roster that Belichick seems to be trying to put together at this point, it looks like McCourty's talents will be expected to be put to use at cornerback more than safety in 2012.
Do you think McCourty will stay at corner? Do you want him at corner? Can he return to his playmaking rookie ways? Let us know with a comment below!