1. Martellus Bennett
Perhaps the best decision the Patriots made the offseason was the trade for Martellus Bennett. Only giving up a fourth rounder while getting both Bennett and a 6th round pick must feel like a steal for the Patriots. During the first four games of the year while Gronk was injured and Brady was on the sideline, Bennett had his time to shine. He was one of the highest rated tight ends in the NFL and was especially valuable in blocking situations. He also provided the lone bright spot in the Patriots shut out loss to the Bills with a 100 yard receiving game.
The next week was when he was truly thrust into the spotlight. While most expected Brady to lock in on Gronk, the opposite was true. Despite injuring his ankle early in the game, Bennett was a force to reckon with, citing Marvel hero Luke Cage as his inspiration to play through the pain. And play he did with three touchdowns on the day, the Patriots two tight end offense was on full display for the first time.
As seen in the play above, even without Brady on the field Bennett was a force to be reckoned with. While in recent weeks his snap count has gone down, it can largely be attributed to his ongoing ankle woes. After some of his catches against the Bills he could be seen limping off the field. Since his ankle injury he has seen about 30% less snaps per game. Despite this he still seems to be doing fine on deep passes.
With a bye week to recover, Martellus will heal and get back to a full snap count. For the second half of the season expect to see him become more of a factor, as defenses hone in on Gronk. It will be exciting to watch the two-tight end sets tear up opposing defenses. With such a big role, it’s amazing to think the Patriots snagged him for only a fourth round pick, as he has become the more important new member of this years team