The reigning Super Bowl champions boast just four of the NFL’s top 100 players, according to an ESPN.com poll published Tuesday.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (No. 3) and tight end Rob Gronkowski (No. 5) both placed in the top five, but to find the next Patriot on the list, one must search all the way down to No. 56, where defensive back Devin McCourty sits. Linebacker Jamie Collins rounded out the New England contingent at No. 97.
The objective of the rankings was simple: “Rate players based on how good they are — period.” ESPN polled 70 media members and former players/coaches, asking them to rate each NFL player on a 1-100 scale. Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt received the most love from the panel, topping the list with an average score of 98.87.
Brady, the second-ranked quarterback behind Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, received an average score of 95.14, followed closely by Gronkowski at 94.51. McCourty checked in at 83.58, while Collins received a 79.38.
Former Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis also earned a high ranking, coming in at No. 9, and the Seattle Seahawks — losers to the Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX — placed nine players on the list, including seven in the top 50.
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