The New England Patriots had a lot of options at guard for 2016. They returned Shaq Mason, Tre Jackson, and Josh Kline from the previous year. They acquired former top 10 pick Jonathan Cooper from the Cardinals. They added two more players in the draft.
Who would have guessed that Joe Thuney, the 78th overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft, would be considered the best rookie guard in the NFL?
The Pro Football Writers Association released their 2016 All Rookie Team and Thuney was the top player listed at the guard position, alongside 13th overall selection Miami Dolphins OG Laremy Tunsil.
Thuney played almost every single offensive snap in 2016 for a revitalized Patriots offensive line that protected MVP candidate QB Tom Brady, and blocked for NFL-leader in rushing touchdowns RB LeGarrette Blount.
Thuney was one of the Patriots best linemen early in the year, but slowed down in the final weeks of the year. If he’s able to have a similar sophomore jump over the offseason that C David Andrews and RG Shaq Mason experienced this past summer, then Thuney will likely hear his named mentioned alongside the best guards in the league, no matter their experience.
Full team below:
2016 PFWA ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: RB Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
2016 PFWA OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: RB Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
2016 PFWA DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: DE Joey Bosa, San Diego Chargers
2016 PFWA ALL-ROOKIE TEAM
QB – Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
RB – Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys; Jordan Howard, Chicago Bears
TE – Hunter Henry, San Diego Chargers
C – Cody Whitehair, Chicago Bears
G – Joe Thuney, New England Patriots; Laremy Tunsil, Miami Dolphins
LB – Jatavis Brown, San Diego Chargers; Leonard Floyd, Chicago Bears; Deion Jones, Atlanta Falcons
CB – Vernon Hargreaves III, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Jalen Ramsey, Jacksonville Jaguars
S – Karl Joseph, Oakland Raiders; Keanu Neal, Atlanta Falcons
PK – Wil Lutz, New Orleans Saints
P – Riley Dixon, Denver Broncos
KR – Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
PR – Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
ST – Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs