In early November, midway through the 2016 NFL season, the Pats Pulpit staff handed out its New England Patriots midseason awards. Three months later and coming off a Patriots Super Bowl victory, it is time to reflect once again and hand out trophies to those, who have earned them.
Today’s installment honors the team’s rookie of the year.
Patriots Rookie of the Year 2016: OG Joe Thuney
Midseason winner: OG Joe Thuney
SlotMachinePlayer: OG Joe Thuney
Malcolm Mitchell deserves a shout out for his Super Bowl heroics, Thuney has been battling in the trenches since day 1 and it looks like he belongs there.
Ryan Keiran (@Ryan_Keiran): WR Malcolm Mitchell
It's so hard for any WR to earn Brady's trust, and Mitchell did it as a 4th round rookie. He was a key piece late in the year, and when everyone else sucked in the Super Bowl, he and James White kept making plays to make the comeback possible.
Brian Phillips (@b7phillips): OG Joe Thuney
Great start to what appears to be a long, solid career. Will someone please put Jonathon Jones as their ROY since I didn't have the guts? The guy balled on STs this season.
Rich Hill (@pp_rich_hill): OG Joe Thuney
He played almost every single snap this season. Enough said.
MichaelMcD831993 (@MichaelMcD8393): Tie WR Malcolm Mitchell / OG Joe Thuney
Thuney started strong and faded late, Mitchell did the opposite. Both should be excellent players in the near future.
Oliver Thomas (@OliverBThomas): OG Joe Thuney
An offensive lineman will make his share of mistakes over the course of 1,114 snaps, but the fact the third-rounder was on the field for that type of sample size speaks for itself.
Matthew Rewinski (@SomeCallMeGoose): OG Joe Thuney
The guy who played all over the offensive line in college grabbed a starting job filling Logan Mankins' shoes from Day 1 and never let it go all year. Didn't he only miss one snap all season or something? Not bad for a guy that Kevin Faulk called a linebacker at the draft!
DMooreNFL (@DMooreNFL): OG Joe Thuney
Joe Thuney as a rookie had his issues, but he was part of the much improved offensive line play in 2016. He started all 16 games at left guard and played nearly every snap. That is rare for a rookie under Belichick's regime to do that. He showed a lot of talent and gives hope to having a solid player at the position for years to come.
Taylor Kyles (@tkyles39): OG Joe Thuney
PFF's third highest rated rookie guard had his ups and downs in his first NFL season, with flashes of brilliance and potential mixed in with lowlights one would expect from an inexperienced player. However, as the only rookie to start every game for the Super Bowl LI champions and for the much-improved play he brought to a position that was a swinging door in 2015, it's hard to give this award to anyone else.
Kirk von Kreisler (@KirkNFL): OG Joe Thuney
It was tough to take the award away from Malcolm Mitchell here, as Mitchell emerged as a reliable target late in the season, but I could not deny Thuney’s durability and importance throughout his entire rookie season. Thuney started every game in his rookie season, and became an integral piece on New England’s improved offensive line.
Bernd Buchmasser (@BerndBuchmasser): OG Joe Thuney
The N.C. State product would not finish his rookie campaign as well as he started it, but even after hitting the so-called "rookie wall", Thuney was still far from a liability. He started every game and helped stabilize New England’s interior offensive line as an able blocker in both the passing and the running game. In short: He came in and did his job – well enough to earn him the team’s rookie of the year honors.
What do you think about Joe Thuney as the Patriots’ 2016 Rookie of the Year? Let us know in the comments.