Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots Ryan Wendell leads NFL in snaps

This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to New England Patriots fans, but Ryan Wendell (link to Rotoworld here, Football Outsiders here) is the NFL leader for most snaps this season. The hard-working UDFA out of Fresno State broke onto the scene last season as a solid backup on the line, and Wendell took the opportunity to start over Dan Koppen as a first-year player and just ran with it. Wendell not only leads the league in snaps, but he is also one of the best centers in the league. He is a mauling run blocker and has been one of the unsung heroes of the 12-4 Patriots this season.

Overall, Wendell has taken 1,231 snaps on offense and 148 snaps on special teams whilst starting in all 16 games. It seems like he has played every snap possible, and that is a testament to Wendell’s toughness, stamina, and ability to stay healthy. He’s turned into one of the best and most reliable interior offensive linemen in this league as just a first year starter. I must also add that it is extremely difficult to show that kind of stamina in a no-huddle, but the no-huddle is what also bumped up his snap stats a bit.

Looking around, there are quite a few other leaders from the Patriots on the board. Tom Brady is first among all quarterbacks with 1,213 snaps and no other QB is within 30.

Wes Welker was second among all wide receivers and Brandon Lloyd fifth.

Ryan Wendell obviously led all offensive linemen, but athletic left tackle Nate Solder was right behind him in second place on the leader board. Now that’s no short feat for a tackle.

The tough Rob Ninkovich was sixth among defensive linemen, and Patriots linebackers were represented by Jerod Mayo squarely in 15th place on the list.

And to finish off with defensive backs, the slightly underrated Devin McCourty (it seems like people outside of New England don’t realize he actually plays at safety and is amazing there) paces all defensive backs with a whopping 1,329 snaps. He is everywhere on the field and on special teams, and McCourty has been one of my favorite Patriots ever since he joined the team.

I used total snaps to include special teams and other snaps accumulated as well in order to give a more accurate picture of each player’s snap counts.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.

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Tags: Brandon Lloyd Devin McCourty Jerod Mayo Nate Solder New England Patriots Rob Ninkovich Ryan Wendell Tom Brady Wes Welker

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