The Patriots might not have many elite players on the roster right now but they do have a lot of good players. This roster is not necessarily top heavy but it is very deep and has a lot of younger players just now entering their prime. Here’s my list of the top 15 players on the Patriots roster entering training camp:
1 - Jake Bailey, P
I don’t care that he’s a punter, he’s the best player on the Patriots right now. He’s a weapon for this team. He’s the best punter in the NFL and he might go down as one of the best punters in NFL history when all is said and done.
2 - Stephon Gilmore, CB
Assuming he plays and is healthy, he is still one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL and the best player on this defense. He was the NFL defensive player of the year the last time he was fully healthy in 2019. He missed time in 2020, if healthy I expect him back in his 2019 form.
3 - Mike Onwenu, G
Too high for the second year offensive lineman? I don’t think so, he was tremendous in 2020. It felt like he never had a bad play and dominated every defensive lineman he went up against. Scary part, he’s only going to get better.
4 - Matt Judon, LB
Coming off back to back Pro Bowl seasons with the Ravens and entering the prime of his career. Judon was a big signing by the Patriots and immediately becomes one of their best players.
5 - Matt Slater, ST
Best special teams player in NFL history and still going strong. He’s a difference maker on special teams and is the best in the NFL at what he does.
6 - Dont’a Hightower, LB
Wanted to put Hightower at number 3 to be honest but after taking a season off I want to see him in action a little bit more before I move him up. He looks in great shape though and should be primed for a big season.
7 - Shaq Mason, G
At his best Mason is an elite guard but he is getting up there in age. Still should be very good and an anchor on the offensive line.
8 - Hunter Henry, TE
Has been a consistently good tight end for a few years now in SD/LA. Now coming to New England and entering the prime of his career, I expect big things from Henry. Has the talent and ability to be an elite tight end in this league.
9 - Devin McCourty, S
Still a very good safety in this league but definitely on the back 9. The leader of this defense and makes guys around him better.
10 - Jonnu Smith, TE
Like Henry, Smith has been a good tight end in his career but is just now entering his prime. Coming off a career year in Tennessee, he is primed to blow up and have a great season in New England.
11 - JC Jackson, CB
Arguably the best #2 CB in the NFL. Would be the best cornerback on a lot of teams. Has a knack for the ball and keeps getting better. He will be the Patriots top cornerback and one of their top 10 players in 2022.
12 - Kyle Dugger, S
Up and coming elite safety in this league. Really flashed in year one and should make a huge jump in 2021. Versatile safety that makes plays all over the field. Has all the tools. Will be this defenses best player in a couple years.
13 - David Andrews, C
As solid as they come. Arguably the most underrated center in the game. Leader of this offense and works extremely well with his quarterbacks.
14 - Damien Harris, RB
Needs to stay healthy but if he does, sky’s the limit. He run hard, has a nice combination of size and speed. Best running back on this roster and should have his breakout season in 2021.
15 - Mac Jones, QB
Fifteenth overall pick, fifteenth best player on the Patriots. Obviously I’m projecting a little bit here but he’s already the best QB on the roster and if he plays, he could easily be one of the best players on the team. He checks all the boxes and should be a franchise QB for next two decades. He’ll easily be in the top 10 next year.