We kicked off our Pats Pulpit 2017 New England Patriots midseason awards with a collection of best game, best play, best coach, and a few others on Monday. Today we’ll continue by looking at the most improved member of the Patriots roster through eight weeks of the season.
Most Improved: LB Kyle Van Noy
McDermott: Kyle Van Noy (you can argue Jonathan Jones)
Thomas: Kyle Van Noy
Moore: Kyle Van Noy
Rewinski: Shaq Mason. Everyone projected him as, well, a project, coming out of Georgia Tech's triple-option offense, and the kid's gone from that to a regular darling of Pro Football Focus and arguably one of the NFL's better guards if you prefer the eyeball test. Rich is right, this kid is about to become a very, very rich man.
Keiran: Kyle Van Noy. Thought he should’ve been cut before the season and he’s been a key piece of the defense.
Bernd: Kyle Van Noy. A mid-season acquisition last year, it took Van Noy some time to get used to his new environment. But get used to it he did. Van Noy has grown into one of the Patriots' core defenders; a player who rarely ever leaves the field and is vital against the pass and the run. Quite the leap forward for the former role player.
Rich’s thoughts: Van Noy is really a no-brainer selection after his role increased from 2016 to 2017 with his first offseason on the roster, along with the injury to Dont’a Hightower opening up a greater leadership role. Mason is another good choice, as is Joe Thuney, but another option could be Patrick Chung. Chung is looking like his old self after a long stretch of down play, but since his “improvement” gets him back to a previous level of play, I understand why Van Noy’s entry into uncharted territory gets the nod.