The best Patriots players this century not named Tom Brady

Baltimore Ravens v New England Patriots
Baltimore Ravens v New England Patriots / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

On the Sunday Night Football Twitter account (@SNFonNBC) an image consisting of who the best Patriots players (non Quarterback) of this century was posted. These players were picked by former NFL quarterback and current analyst of Football Night in America Chris Simms.

With how dominant the Patriots have been it's not easy coming up with a list. Overall, this is a good list that obviously took time to develop because of the options of players Simms could have gone with. But now, this begs the question of who would Patriots fans put into considering of being the best players this century that isn't named Tom Brady.

No matter what, there will always be a few snubs when it comes to listing Patriots greats of this century. With following the same criteria that Chris Simms followed, here are the best Patriots players this century not named Tom Brady.

Julian Edelman

Football fans cannot talk about the history of the New England Patriots and not mention Julian Edelman. Edelman was Tom Brady's favorite target (other than Rob Gronkowski). Some would say that he had the greatest catch in Super Bowl history with his circus like catch in Super Bowl 51 against the Atlanta Falcons. He's been a part of many other iconic plays in recent Patriots history.

Edelman was also a leader for the Patriots in the locker room and on the field. But, how did he do on the field? He finished his career with 620 receptions for 6,822 receiving yards and 36 receiving touchdowns. The Super Bowl LIII MVP will forever be a Patriot great and his legacy will be kept alive in Foxboro for years to come.

Rob Gronkowski

There's always a debate on who the greatest player is at their position. Some fans would say Tony Gonzalez is the greatest tight end of all time. Other's would say Rob Gronkowski is. Gronkowski's versitility at the position separates him from other tight ends. He could block, he could run and he could run just about any route. Gronk was a jack of all trades of a tight end.

The Patriots offense was at it's peak with it's two tight end set with Gronkowski leading the charge. Gronkowski arguably won Super Bowl 53 for the Patriots with his diving catch that set up New England on a first and goal from inside the five yard line late in the fourth quarter. Just like Edelman, Gronkowski also has many moments that fans will never forget. But Gronk will always be remembered as the (arguably) the greatest tight end of all time.

Vince Wilfork

A Patriots hall of famer and eventually a NFL hall of famer. From the moment Vince Wilfork entered the league in 2004 he was a force to reckon with. Wilfork was a part of that dominant 2001 Miami Hurricanes team and his talent immediately transferred over to the NFL. He quickly rose to the top of the depth chart in New England and earned the nickname "Big Vince."

Wilfork had one job. It was to clog up the middle to give running backs or quarterbacks a hard time running straight up the middle of the offensive line. He was feared by most and was the anchor of the New England defensive line for years. In his 11 year career with the Patriots he racked up 560 total tackles (367 solo) and 16 sacks. He also had two interceptions, five forced fumbled, and two fumble recoveries with one of them resulting in a touchdown. Figuratively and literally he left a massive hole in the defense when he signed with Houston in 2015.

Adam Vinatieri

Even though this is based on this current century alone Adam Vinatieri's time in New England is hall of fame worthy. During his time in New England, Vinatieri never missed a game. If there's one word to describe his time in New England, it would be clutch. He always came up clutch for New England when they needed him to kick.

His two most clutch kicks came in the same season. The first being against the Oakland Raiders in the "Tuck Rule Game" and then just a few weeks later in Super Bowl XXXVI against the St. Louis Rams kicking the game winning field goal as time expired completing one of the biggest Super Bowl upsets in the history of the NFL. Vinatieri left New England after the 2005 season and retired in 2019 and now is waiting to be eligible for the NFL Hall of Fame.

Rodney Harrison

Rodney Harrison was one of the most feared safeties in the NFL. He was a hard hitting player who would let you know about it too. Harrison joined the Patriots in 2003 and made the defense even better than it already was. He would also challenge the offense in practice as well. In general he would bring the best out in everyone on the field.

The 2004 season was arguably his best in a Patriot uniform. Harrison was a tackling machine with having a career high 141 total tackles with 96 of them being solo. In the playoffs his presence was felt in the secondary with four interceptions including the game winning interception against the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX. Harrison would go on and finish his career in New England and retire in 2008 and be inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame in 2019.

Kevin Faulk

Last but certainly not least it's Kevin Faulk. In simple terms, there's no James White without Kevin Faulk. Faulk was the third down back who could get a first down on third and short. He was the screen catching back who could find is way to getting a first down. Kevin Faulk paved the way for how the Patriots utilized their running backs.

In his career, Faulk never rushed for over 1,000 yards and he never got over 1,000 receiving yards in a season. So why is he on this list? He was used to set up everyone else to score. Faulk was the enforcer when it came to scoring. If there's a word or phrase to describe Kevin Faulk it would be the ultimate team player. His efforts on the field were rewarded when he was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame in 2016.