Pro Football Focus has counted down its Top 101 players from the 2019 NFL season.
And within the PFF ranks, which are based solely on the year that was, and under the adage that all positions are created equal, are four New England Patriots.
Here’s a look at just whom landed where as New England’s page turns to 2020.
No. 91. Joe Thuney, guard
A handful of guards cracked Pro Football Focus’ 2019 list. Thuney was one, checking in behind Marshall Yanda of the Baltimore Ravens, Zack Martin of the Dallas Cowboys, Quenton Nelson of the Indianapolis Colts and Brandon Brooks of the Philadelphia Eagles. Thuney allowed one sack over 99.2 percent of New England’s offensive snaps. He received a 77.4 overall PFF grade and an Associated Press second-team All-Pro nod. The 64-game starter at left guard is set to become a free agent on March 18.
No. 84. Devin McCourty, safety
McCourty’s eighth appearance on the PFF Top 101 comes after a campaign in which he intercepted five passes and posted a coverage grade of 88.3. The 32-year-old Patriots captain started every game for the fourth consecutive season, totaling 58 tackles and a pair of forced fumbles. Capping off a five-year, $47.5 million contract, McCourty is facing free agency in March. Six safeties ranked ahead of McCourty on this year’s list, including two Minnesota Vikings in Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris.
No. 59. Kyle Van Noy, linebacker
Van Noy amassed a career-high 60 total pressures in a contract year, according to Pro Football Focus. The outside linebacker started each of his 15 games by the close of the regular season, setting new highs with 6.5 sacks and a trio of forced fumbles. Van Noy will turn 29 one week after the new league year opens. For now, the former Detroit Lions draft choice out of Brigham Young is one of 16 edge players in the PFF Top 101.
No. 22. Stephon Gilmore, cornerback
The fourth and final Patriot within PFF’s Top 101 stands as the 2019 AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Gilmore’s coverage held quarterbacks to a sub-50 passer rating and completion percentage. He’d tie for the league lead with a career-best six interceptions, return two for touchdowns, and concede one touchdown. The lone cornerback landing ahead of Gilmore on the annual list would be the San Francisco 49ers’ Richard Sherman, who went No. 13.