June is the quietest month on the NFL calendar, which means it represents the perfect time to publish all that content that would get lost during the season. Enter player rankings. Advanced analytics website did its own version earlier this month, and CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco followed shortly thereafter: the veteran sportswriter released his annual list of the 100 top players entering the upcoming NFL season.
This year, the New England Patriots are represented with four players. Unsurprisingly, quarterback Tom Brady is ranked highest among them:
6. Tom Brady
His regular-season numbers weren’t great, but he turned it on the playoffs — which we have come to expect. I know some will question him being this high. You shouldn’t.
Prisco has the six-time world champion listed as the third best quarterback on his list behind only the Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes (#2) and the Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers (#3). But no matter his comparatively low ranking, the soon-to-be 42-year-old again projects to be one of the NFL’s elite quarterbacks this season. And as long as he is under center, New England is among the favorites to win the Lombardi Trophy. 2019 projects to be no different for the greatest ever.
30. Stephon Gilmore
He was the best corner in the league last season and carried it over to the postseason.
Gilmore was outstanding in his second-year in the Patriots’ system and took the famous leap between years one and two. As a result, he continued his development into a true shutdown cornerback — something he proved time and again during the 2018 season. All in all, the first-team All-Pro selection surrendered just 41 pass receptions on 106 targets for 534 yards, 5 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. In short: Gilmore was outstanding — and his ranking on Prisco’s list as the NFL’s best cornerback certainly is warranted.
90. Julian Edelman
He missed four games for suspension last year, but still ended up with 74 catches and went on to win Super Bowl MVP.
Despite coming off a torn ACL and four-game suspension, Julian Edelman proved why he is still one of the most reliable wide receivers in the NFL. The veteran finished the 2018 campaign with 74 catches for 850 yards and 6 touchdowns before adding 26 receptions for 388 yards in the postseason. Edelman was terrific all year long, but the Super Bowl might just have been his crowning achievement: he caught 10 passes for 141 yards and earned MVP honors because of his performance. Seeing him listed among the best players heading into 2019 is therefore no surprise.
100. Shaq Mason
He had his best season in 2018. The biggest improvement has come in pass protection.
Listed as the fiftieth best player in the NFL on Pro Football Focus’ list, Mason just made the cut on Prisco’s. And why wouldn’t he be included: Mason was again terrific as a run blocker in 2018, but also continued to improve in pass protection. When all was said and done, the 25-year-old had surrendered just 14.5 pressured on the year: 1.5 sacks, 6 quarterback hits, and 7 hurries — and all that in just seventeen games. Needless to say that Mason is one of the best interior offensive linemen in the business.
No matter what you think of the rankings, Prisco naming Brady, Gilmore, Edelman and Mason among the best players in the NFL is no surprise: all four of them were outstanding in 2018, and 2019 projects to be more of the same. The question is whether or not other players — such as honorable mention Devin McCourty — also deserve to be named alongside the top 100 players for 2019.
What do you think about the list or any potential Patriots snubs? Let us know in the comments!