Devin McCourty welcomes Cole Strange to Patriots as fellow first-round draft pick

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Devin McCourty offers warm welcome to Foxboro for Cole Strange originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Twelve seasons, three Super Bowl rings and two Pro Bowls later, Devin McCourty is a New England Patriots franchise icon.

He didn't become one overnight, however.

New England's first-round pick (27th overall) in the 2010 NFL Draft, McCourty was considered somewhat of a reach at that point of the draft -- not unlike the franchise's latest first-round selection, Cole Strange, a pick which has drawn mixed reactions at best.

Cole Strange's college coach never heard from Belichick before draft

McCourty, now 10th all-time in games played for the Patriots, welcomed in his newest teammate with an encouraging message.

The Patriots' selection of McCourty -- who came from one of Bill Belichick's favorite college programs, Rutgers -- wasn't met with rave reviews right away, either. He wasn't even listed among the Top 100 prospects entering that draft by NFL Media (though to be fair, neither was New England's first pick in the second round that year, Rob Gronkowski).

Years later, McCourty is as synonymous as any member of the Patriots' Super Bowl teams this side of Tom Brady.

Could Strange some day justify his selection, a la McCourty? Perhaps. But for now, it's encouraging to see his new teammates welcoming him in as the Patriots move further away from the Brady era.