Patriots: 6 surprise players of 2015

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Dion Lewis Patriots
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2. Dion Lewis

Coming out of nowhere to play a major role in the first half of the Patriots’ 2015 regular season was Lewis, who had previously bounced around the league with the Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles and Indianapolis Colts but had never been given a real chance.

Despite missing the second half of the regular season, Lewis found himself the second-leading rusher when all was said and done in Week 17. In addition, his average of 4.8 yards per carry bested the rest of the Patriots’ backfield. The Pitt product finished with 234 yards and two touchdowns on 49 carries before tearing his ACL against the Washington Redskins.

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t 36 passes out of the backfield for 388 yards and two scores. White has been a pleasant surprise as a fill-in for Lewis, but the Patriots have missed and will continue to miss the spice Lewis brings to the offense both as a pass catcher and ball carrier.

The sheer number of Patriots players and coaches who huddled around Lewis after he tore his ACL shows how highly the team thinks of Lewis. Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, of all people, gave Lewis a comforting arm over the shoulder as the undersized back made his way toward the locker room.

Next: 1. Jabaal Sheard