Jason McCourty was nobody’s first choice.
That is even true of the Tennessee Titans, who actually did select him in the sixth round of the 2009 NFL Draft. He was the eighth player – and second cornerback – the Titans picked that year and the 45th defensive back off the board.
But he has lasted.
The Miami Dolphins signed McCourty to a free-agent contract Friday, which means the 33-year-old (he will turn 34 before the start of the regular season) has a chance to extend his NFL career to a 13th season and to further establish himself as one of Tennessee’s most enduring draft picks of the Titans era. As it is, he already is fourth in games played among all of the franchise’s draft picks from 1999-present and could get as high as second on that list by the end of the 2021 regular season.
"I'm ready to go work," McCourty said in a Twitter video produced by the Dolphins. "I'm ready to hydrate and get ready for this heat. Let's go, fellas. Fins Up!"
McCourty spent the past three seasons with the New England Patriots after one year with Cleveland (2017). He was part of a Super Bowl champion in his first season with the Patriots (2018) immediately after having played on a Browns team that finished 0-16.
He spent his first eight years with the Titans, played 90 of his 166 games for them but never was part of a playoff team.
A rundown of the most career NFL games played by Tennessee Titans draft picks (1999-present):
|Player, Pos.||Drafted||NFL Games||Titans Games|
Randy Starks, DT
Third round, 2004
Jared Cook, TE
Third round, 2009
Keith Bulluck, LB
First round, 2000
Jason McCourty, CB
Sixth round, 2009
Stephen Tulloch, MLB
Fourth round, 2006
Michael Griffin, S
First round, 2007
McCourty was the 203rd overall selection in 2009 but has played more games than all but seven of the 256 players chosen – and three of those seven are kickers and punters. He tops all sixth-round choices, a group that includes only four others with more than 100 career appearances.
“I just want to be somewhere I’m wanted and an opportunity to compete and help the guys around me,” McCourty told ESPN’s Mike Reiss two weeks into the free agency signing period. “As an older player now, I really look forward and love being able to mentor the younger guys, ad be able to kind of help them grow, as well as going out there competing and trying to win games.
“… This will be Year 13. So, each year you’re closer to the end. This could be it. I’m just excited to get somewhere and play football.”
As he has for a long time now.