New England Patriots Midseason Awards: MVP, Least Valuable Player, ROTY & more

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Most Underrated Player (so far): Jahlani Tavai

If someone told Patriots fans at the start of the 2023 season that Jahlani Tavai would be well on his way to having the best season of his career, not many would have believed it.

The linebacker was signed in 2021, following recently fired head coach Matt Patricia on his way from Detroit back to New England. That season was forgettable for Tavai, but after getting acclimated to his new team and becoming more comfortable in the system, he slowly but surely became one of the more reliable yet underrated members of the defense.

Despite the overall down year for the Patriots in 2022, Tavai recorded the best statistical season of his career. Fast forward to the current season, and he's already on track to blow past those stats well before the end of the year.

Other than his usual contributions when on the field, the momentum-swinging moments made him the most underrated player on the team right now.

Tavai is not a player many catch themselves talking about when discussing a Patriots game, but it's difficult not to mention his name when he's pulling off moments like the forced fumble against the Commanders in Week 9.

On top of that memorable play, he has also recorded 54 combined tackles, two tackles for a loss, three QB hits, a sack, an interception, and three pass breakups. Not many other players on the team right now can say they have accomplished even half of that so far this season.

Because of the number of injuries that have piled up over the weeks, the ascension of Tavai has become even more integral to the defense's success. If he can continue down the path he's already paved, he could wind up atop the list of the best defensive players on the season.