A Position-By-Position Glance at the Decade’s Top Patriots

A Position-By-Position Glance at the Decade's Top Patriots With three Super Bowl titles in the two-thousand-aughts, the Patriots have been crowned the team of the decade by ESPN, NBC, other news outlets and even by Texans coach Gary Kubiak, who said earlier this week that New England is "the top franchise in football over the course of the last 10 years."

But who are the players that make up that team of the decade?

Everyone knows names like Tom Brady, Tedy Bruschi and Adam Vinatieri, but there have been loads of others who have played major roles in bringing the Patriots to this hallowed NFL status.

As the decade draws to a close, we look back on the top Patriots players at each position.

Offense

Tackle (2): Matt Light, Nick Kaczur

Guard (2): Logan Mankins, Joe Andruzzi
Honorable mention: Stephen Neal

Center: Dan Koppen
Honorable mention: Damien Woody

Tight end: Ben Watson
Honorable mention: Daniel Graham, Christian Fauria

Wide receiver (2): Randy Moss, Wes Welker
The current duo — Welker the slot receiver and Moss the home-run
threat — is as dangerous a receiving combination as the Patriots have
ever had. Through last weekend, in three record-setting seasons in New
England, they've combined for 590 catches, 7,366 yards and 62
touchdowns.
Honorable mention: Troy Brown, Deion Branch, David Patten, David Givens

Quarterback: Tom Brady
Really? You're questioning this one?
Honorable mention (but not even close): Drew Bledsoe, Matt Cassel

Running back (2): Corey Dillon, Kevin Faulk
Though he only spent three seasons in the red, white, gray and
blue, Dillon scored 39 touchdowns in those three years and set the
Patriots' single-season record by rushing for 1,635 yards in his Pro
Bowl (and the team's Super Bowl) season of 2004. Faulk, on the other
hand, gets the lifetime-achievement award, of sorts. He's been with the
team the entire decade, playing in 141 games, rushing for over 3,000
yards and catching 406 passes, all while doing whatever coach Bill
Belichick
asks of him. And he's a NESN Insider.
Honorable mention: Laurence Maroney, Antowain Smith, Sammy Morris

Defense

Defensive end (2): Richard Seymour, Ty Warren

Defensive tackle: Vince Wilfork
Honorable mention: Ted Washington

Outside linebacker (2): Mike Vrabel, Willie McGinest
Honorable mention: Rosevelt Colvin, Adalius Thomas, Roman Phifer

Inside linebacker (2): Tedy Bruschi, Ted Johnson
Honorable mention: Jerod Mayo, Junior Seau

Cornerback (2): Ty Law, Asante Samuel
Honorable mention: Ellis Hobbs, Otis Smith

Safety (2): Rodney Harrison, Eugene Wilson
Honorable mention: Lawyer Milloy, James Sanders, Tebucky Jones, Brandon Meriweather

Special teams

Kicker: Adam Vinatieri
Mad props to Gostkowski, but this is a no-brainer. The kicks to win
Super Bowls XXXVI and XXXVIII, the kick in the snow to beat the Raiders
in the tuck-rule game, and the list goes on. A two-time Pro Bowler and
the 15th leading all-time scorer in the NFL, Vinatieri might be the
best clutch kicker in league history.
Honorable mention: Stephen Gostkowski

Punter: Josh Miller
Honorable mention: Chris Hanson, Ken Walter

Kick returner: Ellis Hobbs
Honorable mention: Bethel Johnson

Punt returner: Troy Brown
Honorable mention: Wes Welker

***

For more Boston teams of the decade, check out:
Monday, Dec. 28: Boston Bruins
Tuesday, Dec. 29: Boston Celtics
Thursday, Dec. 31: Boston Red Sox

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