With starting CB Leigh Bodden landing on injured reserve, first-round pick CB Devin McCourty will be thrust into the spotlight and have his development accelerated. The rookie will start opposite Darius Butler, giving the Patriots the most inexperienced tandem of starting corners in the league. The way we hear it, McCourty is physical and very smart, and the closest thing the Patriots have to the "tough guy" Bodden is. McCourty was considered to be the best special-teams player in the draft and will continue to work with that unit on coverage and returning kicks. Moving into McCourty's spot as the nickel back will be CB Jonathan Wilhite. Wilhite looked overmatched last season while playing outside when forced into duty. But we hear that he could be a natural on the inside covering the slot. The young secondary will get tested immediately Week One against a Bengals team with several pass-catching options.
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