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Pro Football Focus names Patriots center David Andrews as one of 2017's surprise players

New England's starting center had his best season as a pro.

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NFL: AFC Divisional Playoff-Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The 2017 season was one filled with surprises not just because the Philadelphia Eagles, a team that has failed to win the Super Bowl before, took home the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Those surprises also happened on a smaller scale as a look at the New England Patriots shows: From Dion Lewis establishing himself as the team's top running back to Malcolm Butler's disappearing act in Super Bowl 52.

Pro Football Focus found another surprise on the Patriots: starting center David Andrews, who the analytics website included in its list of 10 surprise players from the 2017 season – a list that also includes ex-Patriot Jabaal Sheard. Author Sam Monson had to say the following about Andrews:

David Andrews has been a darling of some for a while and he ended the previous season playing well, particularly in the playoffs, but this season as a whole was a big surprise – building off that finish and really generating some impressive play. While there were plenty of ugly games in his tape a year ago, this season those was largely absent, particularly when it comes to pass protection, where he allowed just 22 total pressures over the regular season. Andrews also improved dramatically as a run-blocker, dealing much better with big defensive linemen and helping the New England run game continue to be successful even without a big bruising back.

Andrews was New England's most consistent offensive lineman throughout the year and proved to be a steady presence at the heart of the Patriots' line. In his second year as a starter, the former undrafted free agent – like Monson points out – took a noticeable step forward as a run and pass blocker and played a big role in helping the unit overcome a rocky start to the season.

The 25-year old, who due the nature of his position is in charge of setting the protection scheme pre-snap as well, appeared in all 19 of New England's games last season and also served as a first-time team captain. Thanks to a extension he signed last May, Andrews will be under contract through the 2020 season and continue to be the leader of the offensive line both on and off the field.