Pat Kirwan, and Pete Prisco of CBS Sports have released their top 100 player lists, and multiple Patriots have made the cut.
1. Tom Brady, QB, Patriots: He does more with less. He could take any team in the AFC and win the division.
21. Darrelle Revis, CB, Patriots: He has top man-to-man skills and will flourish in New England.
54. Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots: Health is what keeps him out of the top 25.
77. Jerod Mayo, LB, Patriots: Smart, intense leader of the Patriots’ defense that manages Bill Belichick’s schemes.
92. Vince Wilfork, DT, Patriots: He is coming off an injury and is older, but watch the Patriots’ defense improve upon his return.
It is nice to finally see an expert rank Brady at the top, where I believe he belongs. If Brady had Peyton Manning‘s weapons last year, I guarantee he would have put up record numbers, and he wouldn’t have flopped in the Super Bowl.
As for the other rankings, they all seem okay, although Gronkowski’s slot can be varied, due to his health issues. When he is 100% healthy, he may be a top 10 player in the game. But he has to prove that he can stay on the field, so until then, he will fall down these kinds of rankings. 54 may be a bit too low, but it is an understandable ranking.
Now, we move to Prisco’s list. There are only four Patriots here.
5. Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots: With little help last season, he still played at a high level to lead the Patriots to the AFC title game. He’s far from done. Don’t buy that talk.
NFL GM No. 4 on Brady: “The best football player-quarterback in this league. Still has what it takes to take a team to numerous Super Bowls. “
24. Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots: He is coming off an injury-shortened season, but when healthy, he’s even higher up this list.
NFC personnel director on Gronkowski: “Coverage mismatch for linebackers and safeties. He can do what he wants when he’s on the field. The problem is keeping him on the field.”
AFC personnel man on Gronkowski: “Top talent whose style doesn’t indicate a long career. Tremendous player when he plays, but you have to think the injuries will take their toll moving forward.”
28. Darrelle Revis, CB, New England Patriots: He was battling back from a knee injury last season and was miscast in Tampa Bay’s defense. He should be much better for the Pats in 2014.
AFC personnel man on Revis: “He is still playing at a high level and should be better this year than last. Football is important to him, and that matters.”
62. Devin McCourty, S, New England Patriots: He is a rangy former corner who fits playing free safety the way the game is played now. He is also a willing tackler.
McCourty stat: He has 15 picks in four seasons, while brother Jason, a starting corner for the Titans, has eight in five.
There are a few big differences between the two lists, but the one that sticks out in my mind, is Kirwan including Logan Mankins, while Prisco slides in Devin McCourty. A few days ago I stated that Mankins was the most overrated player in New England, and I maintain that stance. I can understand putting him in the top 100, simply because he is still a fine player, but not including McCourty is a bit crazy.
In my opinion, McCourty is right up there with Seattle’s Earl Thomas, and after the 2014-15 season is over, he may be better than Thomas. It is insane how fans across the league underrate McCourty, which may be a factor in him being left off Kirwan’s list. That is the biggest thing I took away from these two lists.
It is also worth noting that one AFC personnel man said that Gronk’s playing style may result in a short career. That is certainly a valid point, given his injury history over the last two years, but I am hoping that stuff is in the past, and he can play at a high level for years to come.
Do you like where these two analysts ranked the Pats players? Sound off in the comments section below.