Earlier this week, the New England Patriots released their Team of the Decade for the 2010s. The squad is filled with big names who have become legendary figures in New England and have helped the franchise continue its dynastic run into a second decade — from future Hall of Famers like Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, to cornerstone defenders such as Dont’a Hightower and Devin McCourty, the list reads like a Who’s Who of Patriots football.
However, rosters go far deeper than just the superstar and starter level. There’s also the rotational players and the depth options, the career special teamers and the injury stand-ins. And then there are the players on our own Team of the Decade — the one honoring the men you may have forgotten everything about (if you knew something about them in the first place). Welcome to Pats Pulpit’s All-Anonymity Team of the 2010s.
This list is not filled with big names, but with journeymen and career backups. Players who have only one thing in common: they all were members of the Patriots at one point in their careers, and appeared in at least one game for the team between the 2010 and the 2019 seasons. With those parameters set, let’s take a look at it with a short explainer about each player added:
QB Ryan Mallett: With Tom Brady being his usual outstanding self throughout the decade, there was little room for another quarterback to play meaningful snaps. Mallett certainly did not do that and therefore appears well suited for this spot: a third-round draft pick in 2011, he appeared in four games for New England and attempted a grand total of four passes — throwing the same number of completions (one) as interceptions (one).
RB Thomas Clayton: Clayton actually had three separate stints with the Patriots over the course of the 2010 season but still appeared in only one game. That one contest, however, was a carrier performance for him: he carried the football six times for 17 yards during a 38-7 win over the Miami Dolphins in Week 17.
WR Greg Salas: The Patriots sent a seventh-round draft pick to the then-St. Louis Rams to bring Salas on board but his stint in New England ended after only three months. Along the way, however, he appeared in one game for the team (even though he registered no statistics): Salas played six offensive snaps in a 59-24 rout of the Indianapolis Colts during the 2012 regular season.
WR Leonard Hankerson: When the Atlanta Falcons released Hankerson from their injured reserve list during the 2015 regular season, the Patriots jumped in and claimed him off waivers. His stint with New England was rather unspectacular, though, and came to an end after only 10 days. That said, Hankerson did appear in one game: he played 10 snaps on offense during a win over the Tennessee Titans.
WR Damaris Johnson: Two weeks before Hankerson’s lone game in a Patriots uniform, Johnson played his: he saw the field for three offensive snaps during a loss against the Philadelphia Eagles. Unlike the other wide receivers on our All-Anonymity Team, however, Johnson actually showed up on the stat sheet with one run for six yards.
TE Asante Cleveland: The Patriots suffered multiple high-profile injuries in 2015, which is why so many players from that team made our All-Decade squad. Among them is Asante Cleveland, who was acquired via trade — in exchange for Jordan Devey — during training camp and later went on to play in four games. He was released again before the end of his first regular season in New England.
OT Will Svitek: From a continuity perspective, the Patriots’ offensive line was relatively stable during the 2010s. As a result, two of the players on our All-Anonymity squad appeared in 10-plus games for New England. Will Svitek is one of them: he saw the field in 15 contests as a swing tackle during the 2013 season and even registered two starts.
G Brian Schwenke: Schwenke had a successful career in Tennesse and Indianapolis before arriving in New England in 2018. With the Patriots, however, he failed to carve out anything more than an emergency role: he played just four offensive snaps during his three in-game appearances and was placed on injured reserve in November. Schwenke eventually retired last summer.
C Nick McDonald: McDonald also has two starts on his Patriots résumé: he was the number one center for two games during the 2011 season in place of an injured Dan Connolly. All in all, he was active for 18 games before getting released in the summer of 2013. As far as the All-Anonymity Team goes, however, McDonald is one of the more accomplished players.
G Mitch Petrus: Petrus played in just two games for the Patriots — both during the 2012 season (one of which the lone game of Greg Salas’ career in New England) — and was on the field for a combined six offensive snaps. He left the team after only one season, and eventually ended his career in 2013. Six years later, at the age of just 32, Petrus passed away because of a heat stroke.
OT Chris Barker: Barker earned more Super Bowl rings (two) than starts (zero) in his career. He was on and off the Patriots’ active roster and practice squad regularly between 2013 and 2016, and eventually appeared in six games primarily on special teams but also for a handful snaps at right tackle.
Honorable mentions: RB Jonas Gray, RB Travaris Cadet, RB Jeremy Hill, RB Lex Hilliard, RB Joey Iosefa, RB Leon Washington, FB Lousaka Polite, WR Kamar Aiken
DT Andre Neblett: Neblett had two separate stints with the Patriots in October of 2013, but they combined for only 10 days in total. In between those 10 days, however, he did appear in one game and was on the field for five snaps as a rotational defensive tackle as well as five more in the kicking game.
DT Ishmaa’ily Kitchen: Kitchen arrived in New England late during the 2015 season as a depth option at defensive tackle. How much of a depth option was he? He played only a single snap in a single game: Kitchen saw the field during the regular season finale that year. It was the last snap he played in the NFL.
DE Louis Leonard: Leonard spent time with six teams during his four-year NFL career, and the Patriots are one of them — even though his stint with the club lasted for only one week in December 2010. That one week was enough for him to appear in New England’s Week 15 win over the Green Bay Packers, though.
DE Alex Silvestro: If you wondered who the player next to Tom Brady in the image accompanying this article was, here is your answer: Alex Silvestro. A former undrafted rookie out of Rutgers, Silvestro played one game for the Patriots over the course of the 2011 regular season. The following offseason, however, the team used him as an emergency tight end during offseason workouts. He did not carve out a role.
LB Steve Beauharnais: Even though he joined the Patriots as a seventh-round draft pick, Beauharnais was able to make the team’s 53-man roster during his 2013 rookie season. However, his playing time was virtually non-existent: the Rutgers product appeared in only two games all year, playing a combined 11 snaps — only one of which in defense. He did make a tackle on his single defensive snap, though.
LB A.J. Edds: Edds had two stint with the Patriots — one in 2011 and the other in 2013. The first of the two saw him make the active roster for a pair of games early during the season, even though he was on the field for only 10 combined snaps. All of those snaps, coincidentally, came on his 24th birthday.
CB Tarell Brown: When Tarell Brown arrived in New England in 2015, he already had 114 regular season games on his résumé as well as eight playoff contests. However, he only added three games to his totals with the Patriots: he saw considerable snaps as a slot cornerback in two of them, but eventually had to be placed on season-ending injured reserve because of a foot injury.
CB Bradley Fletcher: Another veteran cornerback who arrived in New England during the 2015 offseason, Fletcher’s stint with the club lasted only two games: he played 49 defensive snaps in Week 1, played 19 in Week 2, was inactive in Week 3, and off the roster by Week 4. Following his release, he never played another down in the NFL.
CB Justin Green: Green moved between the practice squad and active roster on a regular basis during his 2013 rookie season with the Patriots, but he did appear in two games along the way. His impact may have been minimal, but he set the stage for a return to New England’s practice squad the following season — one that ended with him being part of the Super Bowl-winning team.
S Josh Barrett: New England added Barrett via waivers in 2010 but he spent his first year with the team on injured reserve. He did finally see the field the following season, tough: he appeared in five games and actually saw regular playing time as a deep safety. However, a calf injury forced the Patriots to shut him down again. He did return the following season, but again was placed on IR before making an impact.
S Kanorris Davis: Davis joined the Patriots as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2013 and actually appeared in five games during his first season in the NFL, primarily as a special teamer. He failed to build on the little playing time he had, however, and was let go again the following year. Three years later, Davis resurfaced when he signed with the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts.
Honorable mentions: CB Phillip Adams, LB Bobby Carpenter, CB Tony Carter, DL Justin Francis, DL Anthony Johnson, LB Rufus Johnson, DL Terrell McClain, CB Derrick Martin, LB Marques Murrell, DL Landon Cohen, DL Woodrow Hamilton, DL Casey Walker, LB Dekoda Watson
K Kai Forbath: With Stephen Gostkowski being one of the better kickers of the 2010s, the Patriots had little need for somebody else at the position. That said, he did end two seasons on injured reserve — including 2019. New England had a hard time finding a permanent replacement that year, with Forbath one of three kickers brought in to fill the void. He saw action in one game, making his lone field goal try but missing one of two extra points.
P Stephen Gostkowski: The punter position was one of the most stable on New England’s roster between 2010 and 2019, with only three men suiting up to play the position. That said, two others also attempted punts. Tom Brady’s two attempts are, of course, well-known, which is why the other part-time punter makes the All-Anonymity Team: Stephen Gostkowski has five punt attempts on his résumé — all of which coming during a 2013 playoff game against the Colts after Ryan Allen suffered a shoulder injury.
LS Rob Ninkovich: Just like Stephen Gostkowski, Rob Ninkovich also makes the Patriots’ All-Anonymity Team of the 2010s on top of making the Team of the Decade. Ninkovich does so for his work as a long snapper: with Danny Aiken unavailable due to injury, the linebacker stepped into the role for a 2014 regular season game in Green Bay. He snapped the football eight times without any issues.
ST Dewey McDonald: McDonald spent the 2015 season with three different teams, and the Patriots were one of them. Even though he appeared in only one game for the club — a Week 9 win over Washington — he did see considerable action and was able to carve out a role on all four kick coverage units. Three days later, however, he was released.
RT Bernard Reedy: Reedy was picked up by the Patriots in 2017 and appeared in two games for the team as a punt returner. And while he may have only been on the field for five total snaps during those contests, he made the most out of them: Reedy touched the football four times, returning kicks for an impressive average of 8.0 yards.
Honorable mention: ST Ja’Gared Davis