Pro Football Focus recently released their top surprise players from the 2017 season. Who made the list from the New England Patriots?
Even though the New England Patriots fell short of their ultimate goal of winning the Super Bowl, they still had a very good season. As expected, they had multiple players have great seasons for the AFC Champions.
Coming into the season, one of the projected strengths for the Patriots was their offensive line. The Patriots were able to have all five starters return from their Super Bowl team, which is not an easy thing to accomplish.
However, things did not go too smoothly for the Patriots’ offensive line in 2017. To start the season, Nate Solder battled injuries on the left side of the line. On the right side, Marcus Cannon was lost for the season.
In the beginning of the season, the Patriots’ offensive line certainly struggled, as Tom Brady was hit a lot more than the team would have liked to see. Even though there were some struggles, the unit did get it together as the season went on.
One of the players that really performed well was center, David Andrews. Recently, Pro Football Focus named Andrews as one of the top surprises of the season. Here’s what they had to say about him.
"David Andrews has been a darling of some for a while and he ended the previous season playing well, particularly in the playoffs, but this season as a whole was a big surprise – building off that finish and really generating some impressive play. While there were plenty of ugly games in his tape a year ago, this season those was largely absent, particularly when it comes to pass protection, where he allowed just 22 total pressures over the regular season."
According to PFF, Andrews was ranked as the fifth-best center in the NFL with an overall grade of 81.8. As both a run blocker a pass blocker, Andrews graded out very well. In both categories, he was ranked in the Top 10 among centers, as he really didn’t show a lot of weaknesses in 2017.
The strong season from Andrews certainly helped contribute to Tom Brady having an MVP season. Also, the play of Andrews helped spark a running game that was very good in 2017 when Dion Lewis took over as the primary runner.
Since Andrews is on a very team-friendly deal, he was certainly a bargain for the Patriots this season. As a surprise player this season, Andrews will look to take another step forward next season and become one of the elite centers in the NFL.