Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots Analysis: Pete Prisco is right on

One of my favorite yearly columns is Pete Prisco’s overrated/underrated list for each NFL team, and I enjoy taking a look at Prisco’s picks for the New England Patriots most overrated and underrated players. This year, Prisco made two excellent choices by calling Ryan Wendell the team’s most underrated player, while he called guard Logan Mankins the most overrated player on the team.

The Patriots have arguably the league’s best offensive line, and it was Evan Silva of Rotoworld who ranked the Pats O-Line as the best in the league. Ryan Wendell emerged as a key part of that offensive line last season with incredible run blocking ability, and the Pro Football Focus has written several recent articles lauding Wendell, who stepped right in as Dan Koppen‘s replacement at center and didn’t miss a beat. You can’t ask for much more from a first-year starter, and everyone’s favorite stat is that Wendell led the league last season in offensive snaps played. He consistently mauled defenders and made it to the second level, despite playing in an up-tempo offense and as a first-year starter at center.

Wendell isn’t without his flaws, though, because he really needs to work on his pass blocking ability before he can be regarded as an elite center. But run blocking is far more important at the center position, and Wendell is a guy who deserves a lot of credit for Stevan Ridley‘s success as a first-year starter last season. Wendell got better as a pass blocker as the season wore on, but there is still room for improvement. But all told, Wendell could very well be one of the best five centers in the NFL, and he was a good choice for Prisco.

Logan Mankins is somebody I think the world of, because he could be the toughest player in the NFL (and there are a lot of tough guys to choose from). Mankins, however, is indeed an overrated player, and that’s because he is regarded as an elite guard despite not being one anymore. He’s still good, don’t get me wrong, but injury and age have had a significant effect on his play. Mankins is still a good starter in this league and an integral player and leader for the Patriots, but he is no longer a dominant player. In fact, a lot of  Mankins’s perceived value is drawn from reputation, and I have no idea why he made it on the top 100 NFL List. He’s good, but Mankins is not a top 100 player anymore.

That said, it’s awesome to have him on the team, even if he isn’t elite anymore.

Kyle Arrington would have gotten my vote for the most underrated player on the team, because Wendell is starting to get his due thanks to people like Prisco. Arrington, by the way, was Prisco’s choice last year, and Mankins is his most overrated player in back-to-back seasons.

Prisco’s list is full of great picks, and I’ll run through those that I think were home runs from him.

Underrated: Chris Harris Jr. (he’s one of the best CBs in the NFL, was good as a rookie in the nickel too), T.J. Ward, Josh Freeman, Kareem Jackson, Sam Shields, Reshad Jones, Eugene Monroe, Evan Mathis, Will Montgomery, Jurrell Casey.

Overrated: Michael Griffin, Dashon Goldson, DeSean Jackson, LaRon Landry, Ed Reed, Jermon Bushrod, Brandon Pettigrew.

One more thing, thank goodness he didn’t call Jerod Mayo overrated. Prisco did call Wes Welker overrated, which is a statement that I don’t agree with, even if I do agree with his assertion that Welker isn’t a top 50 player.

Next Patriots Game View full schedule »
Sunday, Sep 77 Sep1:00at Miami DolphinsBuy Tickets
Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Logan Mankins New England Patriots Ryan Wendell

  • Willy W

    Ugh, I think it’s easy for us to sit back & say this person or that person is Overrated or Underrated but among us just how often do we actually single out a particular player & watch his every move within a game. I can guarentee that no one is really doing that because what the NFL puts on the field, for entertainment, is so Good now a days that its almost impossible to just watch 1 player on every play. So we tend to look at particular tackles or missed tackles, caught passes or misses… and judge from that. Or purely look at stat’s. And to do so really isnt fair IMO. Their a intangibles that are forgotten about IMO. My question is does Mr. Prisco list what, why, how he comes to these conclusions?

    • Joe Soriano

      Alright, so you brought up points that I consistently tout, “Watch the overall, don’t just base your opinions off of a few missed tackles etc.” I completely disagree with the way you are using your arguments, because you are basically saying that it is unfair to evaluate players. It is impossible to watch every play, but I base my own opinions off of what I’ve seen, PFF stats to affirm if I am or am not weighing a few plays too much, less advanced numbers, and what I read from beat guys. I synthesize a variety of sources into my arguments and opinions. Things are never exact, but it is completely fair to evaluate players using a variety of viewpoints. I agree with what you are saying, Willy, and I would also like to know what Prisco is basing his thoughts on. I would, however, think that it is somewhere in line with what I do, and his thoughts aren’t baseless. Are you upset with his thought that Mankins is the Pats most overrated player?

      • Willy W

        Nothing against you Joe, Im playing the Devils advocate & Im curious… as to how HE comes to his decisions?
        For me in order to agree or disagree that “said” player is either Overrated or Underrated I want to see proof… not just personal opinion because we all have those & that isnt “writing” IMO. If some1 wants to say I have watched player “X” for 2 years now & I see “Y” & “Z” from him but not “A,B or C” then you are supplying Details, Reasons, for your determination & based on something closer related to Fact. Also I want to know IF said player is played/used in a system that he is used to or not?, IE played similiar position or scheme(s) in College or is he playing within a system that he’s had no previous knowledge of & is trying to adapt…
        In other words I could say( as a Writer not in the Comment section) a QB like Flacco is Overrated by most but in his mind is Underrated. Ok well how is he overrated? Why does he feel he’s underrated? Which is He & why & based on what exactly.

        • unclealfie

          I think an important factor here, that no one’s talking about, is over/underrated compared to whom? To say a guy is the best at his position, you’d have to not only analyze his game but the games of every other NFL player who plays that position. No one but a postal employee would have the time to do that week in and week out.

          • Willy W

            That was kinda my point, if you read my comments. I find it awfully easy for someone to say, (lets say Wendell for instance) He is Overrated because he only plays at “X” times & hardly ever comes up with “Y”. Ok, so how does he compare to Michael Ohr? for instance, why is he overrated?, who’s better?… Without adding that kind of information whether you think a player is overrated or underrated is purely Opinion & virtually useless in a debate…

  • Paul V. Suffriti

    “Prisco did call Wes Welker overrated”

    This one is a tough call. I like Wes and everything he did for the Pats offense. Some will say that it was too easy for Brady to target Welker on those short passes over the middle and move the ball in small increments. Welker is a one dimensional slot receiver (the best) but compared to other WRs last year he averaged 11.5 yards a catch (not even in the top twenty) and less than 6 YAC. He was a valuable asset but Brady relied on him too much and it limited the big plays on offense because the opposing defenses played the Pats with extra help short and over the middle. While I’ll miss Welker, the Pats offense should be less predictable and more explosive with more big plays over the entire field. Amendola will bring a new wrinkle to the offense that Welker was unable to to do and hopefully someone will step up and be the deep threat WR the Pats so desperately need.

    Welker will catch less than 100 passes with the Broncos this year….. not so sure he will have the same chemistry with Manning that he had with Brady.