The NFL Network wrapped up their Top 100 of 2016 countdown and only three members of the Patriots made the list: QB Tom Brady, TE Rob Gronkowski, and WR Julian Edelman.
Linebacker Jamie Collins ranked 109th, although he should have been much higher on the list.
“I don’t think he gets as much credit as he deserves,” Washington OT Trent Williams said about Colilns. “When you watch him on film it seems that he’s making every play. One of the best linebackers in this league.”
Safety Devin McCourty also just missed the list, coming in at 105th.
A surprise near-miss was kicker Stephen Gostkowski, who ranked 108th.
“Kicking is a very serious craft,” Rams punter Johnny Hekker said about Gostkowski. “What he can do on the field means a lot to his team. His technique is amazing and that’s why he gets such consistent results. [He] makes sure his technique is repeatable.”
I wasn’t expecting Gostkowski to make the list, although we probably shouldn’t be too surprised. Head coach Bill Belichick think Gostkowski is one of the ten most important players on the roster and influenced the Buccaneers decision to trade up and draft a kicker in the second round.
I just wish they spelled his name correctly.
Personally, I would have expected cornerback Malcolm Butler and linebacker Dont’a Hightower to be in the “near-misses” but I guess that just means next year will feature plenty of Patriots defenders.
I also think it’s interesting how Collins is universally regarded as the superior linebacker of the Patriots duo. It’s not that I disagree with the conclusion, it’s just that I don’t think it’s as cut and dry as everyone has been saying this offseason.