Every offseason, NFL Network releases its list of the top 100 players entering the new season. While the ranking is not the definitive measure of performance in the league, it is a reflection of how a player is viewed among his peers: after all, the players themselves are the ones voting for it. Judging by this, the two New England Patriots that made an appearance on Tuesday’s show certainly enjoy considerable respect in the NFL.
#90 WR Julian Edelman
After not making the list last year, the veteran wide receiver checks in at the 90th spot on 2019’s list. It’s not hard to see why: coming off both a season missed with a torn ACL and a four-game suspension, Edelman delivered another very good season as Tom Brady’s favorite target and safety blanket — all the way to earning his third Super Bowl title and being named the title game’s most valuable player in the process.
Quote of note: “That’s his warrior. He’s so little, but he’s got a big heart.” — Detroit Lions cornerback Darius Slay
#89 FS Devin McCourty
Despite being one of the NFL’s most consistent defensive backs ever since switching to safety in 2012, McCourty has not yet appeared on a top 100 list — until now. The veteran defender, who was a cornerstone in New England’s secondary for three of the team’s championships, was his usual sound self again last season. He rarely left the field and his presence in the deep field allowed the Patriots to run their usual aggressive man coverage scheme.
Quote of note: “If you got a guy in the secondary like McCourty that can speak to people from the backend, that can get guys lined up, that can put everything together — he knows their defense in and out and then he can relay information to everybody else — you can just see how easy stuff for them on defense is.” — Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly