9. Malcolm Butler
The eighth-best Patriots player after three games is none other than cornerback Malcolm Butler, whose stat line reads 16 combines tackles and four passes defended, the latter of which leads the team.
Enough time has passed since the Butler’s Super Bowl XLIX heroism for us to make a statement about the level of Butler’s play. After a solid sophomore season in which even he was surprised to make the Pro Bowl, it is fair to say that Butler is an above-average cornerback. He can probably be left out of the top-five cornerback group in the NFL, but a placement in the top 15, or even top 12, is realistic.
While very sticky in coverage, Butler can be susceptible to breaking down, which he did in the second half of the Miami Dolphins game. Jarvis Landry undoubtedly won that matchup, torching Butler for 137 yards.
However, Butler has played well enough in the other five halves of regular season play thus far to make this ranking as the No. 9 performer for the Patriots so far.
Next: 8. Chris Long