With spring minicamp season over in the NFL and teams biding time before training camps open in July, several outlets covering pro football are posting their lists of the top players in the league.
Quarterback Tom Brady is the top-ranking Patriots player, placed at No. 6. However, he places third among current NFL QBs behind Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers. In the article at CBSSports.com, Prisco explained why he ranked Brady where he did:
Some might quibble with me having Tom Brady in the sixth spot, but he didn’t have a great regular season in 2018 before lighting it up in the playoffs. Here’s proof: Brady had just 56 more passing yards than Giants quarterback Eli Manning, had a lower completion percentage than Manning and threw 29 touchdown passes and 11 picks to 21 and 11 for Manning.
Maybe 2018 wasn’t a vintage year for Brady, but the comparison to Eli Manning seems a bit harsh. Brady’s 4,355 yards still ranked seventh among NFL QBs, while his 29 touchdown passes put him in the top 10. His 97.7 QB rating was basically tied with Rodgers (97.6) as well. But if the argument is that Brady is no longer among the elite of his peers, the numbers support that stance.
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Three More Patriots in Top 100
Cornerback Stephon Gilmore also made it on Prisco’s top 100, coming in at No. 30. He’s the top-ranked player at his position. The next closest cornerbacks are Jacksonville’s Jalen Ramsey (No. 33) and Denver’s Chris Harris (No. 33).
Julian Edelman places at No. 90 on the list, ranked 13th among wide receivers. That seems a bit low, but consider the names ahead of him, among them Julio Jones, DeAndre Hopkins, Michael Thomas (who could soon be the league’s highest-paid wideout), and Antonio Brown. Edelman isn’t the game-breaker that those receivers are, an explosive deep threat who can go up high to fight defensive backs for the football.
Working out of the slot, Edelman is Brady’s most reliable target but is similar to a running back at wide receiver in terms of yards per catch and his role in the offense. However, his numbers should be closer to the top receivers if he plays a full 16-game season instead of missing four games due to a PED suspension.
Closing out Prisco’s rankings are No. 100 is guard Shaq Mason, placed 13th among offensive lineman (and fourth among guards). Mason was also highly regarded by Pro Football Focus, which ranked him as the top overall guard in the NFL.
Former Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers, who signed with the Detroit Lions as a free agent, is also on the list at No. 81.
Going back to PFF, the Patriots also placed three players on its top 50 list. Mason came in at No. 50, with Gilmore ranking No. 14, and Brady one spot away from the top at No. 2. It’s clear that those three are considered the best at their respective positions and among the top players in the entire league.