As training camp opens, the NFL’s Top 100 players of 2018 list came out a couple of weeks ago and something has been bothering me ever since. Tom Brady was voted by the players as the #1 player in the NFL for the second straight year. Gronk was ranked 15th. Those were the only two Patriots to make the list.
Which seems weird when you remember that this team was the best in the AFC and went to the Super Bowl.
But I’ve been thinking, who else would make the list? Especially when you consider that this list is very much based off of the last season’s production and that Dont’a Hightower missed most of the season and Julian Edelman missed ALL of it.
Today’s 3ball is, after Brady and Gronk, who are the next 3 best Patriots from last year? And just for sport, let’s not include the guys who left this offseason, so that also excludes Nate Solder, Dion Lewis, Danny Amendola and Malcolm Butler, (I almost forgot Malcolm Butler,) as well as Julian Edelman and Dont’a Hightower.
Essentially, who were the next three candidates to make the NFL’s Top 100 Players List of 2018?
Devin McCourty- Perhaps the most underrated from this generation of the Patriots’ dynasty. Considered by many NFL journalists as one of the top safeties in the league, he doesn’t get the same national acclaim that he would if he played in Seattle of Philly. But think about this, how many other players has Bill Belichick ordered a replica of? Huh? None, but he brought in an exact reproduction of Devin McCourty this off season. He calls it Jason. (Can we talk about the fact that Belichick has two sets of twins on the roster? We can all admit, Belichick is going to find some roster loophole to exploit.)
James White- After one of the greatest big game performances I’ve ever seen in SBLI, I, along with many predicted big things for James White in 2017. It didn’t really happen, but White has done a beyond admirable impersonation of Shane Vereen the last two years. Even with the addition of Sony Michel, there will be a handful of games each year where it’s damn good to have James White.
Chris Hogan- With the absence of Jules last year and the early injury to Dola, Crazy Eyes was Tom Brady’s guy. Hogan was never the same after getting jacked up against the Chargers, but “7-Eleven” is left open like the last pick on the playground who you really don’t think is capable of catching the ball, so you don’t cover him at all. Pittsburgh didn’t cover Hogan in an AFC Championship game and that didn’t work out well for them.
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