When the New England Patriots signed David Andrews as an undrafted free agent, he was not expected to become an immediate contributor. However, he was thrust into the lineup during his rookie season when incumbent starting center Bryan Stork was placed on the short-term injured reserve list. Andrews started the Patriots’ first 11 games of 2015 and was solid, but had to make way for Stork again once he returned.
At that point, the foundation for a roster battle to come had already been laid: over the summer of 2016, finally, Andrews was able to beat out Stork to become New England’s number one center. The Georgia product has not looked back since and continued his growth as a player: entering the 2018 season, he is once again projected to be a team captain and among the better interior offensive linemen in the NFL.
Despite all that, Andrews is still far from a household name outside of New England – which is exactly why he found his way on Pro Football Focus’ list of secret NFL superstars:
Sometimes “Secret Superstars” aren’t just new guys with limited snaps to get their ability across. On occasion, good players just labor away in anonymity because of the nature of their position. Andrews is one such player, joining New England in 2015 as an undrafted free agent, he’s been a study of solidity, playing 3,345 snaps and improving each year. Last year, his grade of 82.1 was good for fourth among centers behind perennial stars Alex Mack, Jason Kelce and Travis Frederick.
While New England’s offense has seen plenty of turnover since last season, the center position is set in stone thanks to Andrews having earned his coaches’ and teammates’ trust over the last three years. Consequently, the 26-year old will again play almost every one of the Patriots’ offensive snaps as an experienced and trustworthy presence in front of quarterback Tom Brady – one that is expected to be with the team for a long time. Anonymity be damned.