9. Devin McCourty, Patriots
The Patriots are known for unloading some of their most talented players before they reach free agency to avoid salary-cap problems and ensure they get something in return. But, along with Dont’a Hightower, McCourty is the only key homegrown defender Bill Belichick has elected to retain and pay in recent years. What makes McCourty so valuable, is that he is one of the best cover safeties in the game, and in this new era of oversized receivers, spread offenses and three- and four-WR routes, a safety who can cover is invaluable. McCourty will turn 31 this season, but he has missed just five games in eight years in New England, none in the last two seasons. This year he is joined in New England's secondary for the first time by his twin brother, Jason.