Despite a rash of injuries, just 62 New England Patriots players took snaps in 2017.
That’s their second-lowest mark — behind only 2016 — over the last eight seasons.
We decided to rank all 62 players based on how they played last season. Injuries and lack of snaps affect the rankings, but only to a certain degree.
Note: Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is not included because he didn’t take a snap with the Patriots in 2017.
Here’s what we decided with notes on each player:
1. Tom Brady: He’s the NFL MVP. He’s No. 1.
2. Rob Gronkowski: One of the most dangerous offensive weapons in the NFL.
3. Dion Lewis: There are more important players on the Patriots, but only two played better than Lewis in 2017.
4. Trey Flowers: He didn’t put up double-digit sacks as was expected, but he played a ton of snaps and was consistent as a run- and pass-defender.
5. Devin McCourty: He took on a new role this season, playing closer to the line of scrimmage, and his play didn’t suffer for it.
6. Stephon Gilmore: After a tough four-week stretch to start the season, Gilmore was a lock-down cornerback down the stretch.
7. Shaq Mason: Mason was one of the few players who had a case for being a Pro Bowl snub.
8. Patrick Chung: He’s one of the best, and most versatile, strong safeties in the NFL.
9. Danny Amendola: Amendola doesn’t have a full-time role on offense, but few players do their job better.
10. Duron Harmon: Ditto for Harmon on defense. He’s not a starter, but he’s an excellent pass-defending free safety.
11. Malcom Brown: Brown’s improved defensive versatility coincided with an apparent slim-down as the season progressed.
12. Brandin Cooks: Cooks wasn’t as consistent as players ahead of him on this list, but his highs were higher.
13. Dont’a Hightower: It was tough to place Hightower because he missed most of the season with injuries. He’s still one of the team’s best defenders.
14. David Andrews: The Patriots’ starting center had his best season as a pro.
15. Marcus Cannon: He might have been the Patriots’ best offensive lineman before going down with a lingering ankle injury.
16. Nate Solder: Solder missed most of training camp and had a slow start to the season but rebounded nicely.
17. Matthew Slater: Injuries slowed Slater, but he was one of the NFL’s best special teamers when healthy.
18. Lawrence Guy: Guy only contributed sparingly as a pass rusher but provided top-notch run defense.
19. Kyle Van Noy: Van Noy was the team’s best linebacker for most of the year but was still severely underrated by national analysts.
20. Malcolm Butler: A down season led to Butler being benched in the Super Bowl. He’ll regain a starting role elsewhere next season.
21. James Develin: A Pro Bowl selection for his blocking ability.
22. Nate Ebner: Ebner tore his ACL on a fake punt, but he’s one of the league’s best special teamers.
23. James White: White took on a lesser role as Lewis and Rex Burkhead took on more snaps, but he’s still a very good pass-catching back.
24. Stephen Gostkowski: Gostkowski, despite the criticism, remains one of the NFL’s top kickers.
25. Rex Burkhead: He was hurt too often to be ranked higher, and he was used sparingly in the playoffs, but Burkhead made the offense better when he was on the field.
26. James Harrison: Harrison was surprisingly productive when on the field.
27. Chris Hogan: Hogan suffered a shoulder injury midseason and didn’t look like himself again until the Super Bowl.
28. Joe Thuney: He let up too many sacks but still showed potential.
29. Ryan Allen: How high do you place a punter? He was mostly very good this season.
30. Joe Cardona: A flubbed long snap in the Super Bowl might have pushed him down a few notches.
31. Jonathan Jones: Jones was on the rise as a slot cornerback until losing his role to Eric Rowe. Jones is a great special teamer but suffered a season-ending injury in the playoffs.
32. Marquis Flowers: Flowers was the Patriots’ most athletic linebacker who found a role in the passing game.
33. Deatrich Wise: Wise showed potential as a pass rusher. He received just six snaps in the Super Bowl, however.
34. Ricky Jean Francois: Like Harrison, Jean Francois was a surprise contributor.
35. Brandon Bolden: Bolden makes the most of his opportunities as a ball carrier and is still one of the team’s best special teamers.
36. LaAdrian Waddle: Injuries forced Waddle to lose his starting job to Cameron Fleming.
37. Cameron Fleming: Fleming also let up too many sacks but was solid otherwise.
38. Brandon King: He only contributes on special teams, where he shows up consistently.
39. Nicholas Grigsby: Ditto.
40. Eric Rowe: Rowe is a bit of an enigma. Sometimes it seems like he gets lucky, but he’ll get his hand on the football at opportune times.
41. Elandon Roberts: He’s a nice half-field player who too often is forced to cover it entirely.
42. Adam Butler: Butler had his moments as a pass rusher but too often disappeared as a rookie.
43. Eric Lee: Lee made flashy plays early in his Patriots career but struggled to set the edge against the run. He has potential.
44. Dwayne Allen: He never earned trust as a pass catcher.
45. Ted Karras: Karras played well as a backup, save for an errant snap, when filling in for David Andrews at center.
46. Martellus Bennett: Remember when Martellus Bennett was on the Patriots?
47. Phillip Dorsett: Dorsett was rarely targeted for the amount of snaps he took.
48. Johnson Bademosi: Bademosi was destined to be inactive in the playoffs before Jones injured himself.
49. Mike Gillislee: Gillislee played fine when he was on the field, but he was buried on the depth chart.
50. Brian Hoyer: Where do you rank a backup quarterback?
51. Jordan Richards: The Patriots seemed to determine Richards isn’t a safety this season. He might not be a linebacker, either.
52. Jacob Hollister: He might have potential as a pass-catcher, but he didn’t do much as a rookie.
53. Geneo Grissom: A fringe-roster special teamer.
54. Alan Branch: Branch was a massive disappointment after reporting out of shape.
55. David Harris: He only played in 10 games and was inactive for the postseason.
56. Kenny Britt: Britt didn’t do much in 2017 but has a chance to contribute next season.
57. Cole Croston: There’s not enough tape on Croston to properly gauge his play.
58. Harvey Langi: Langi likely would have taken on a greater role if he didn’t suffer a serious injury in a car accident.
59. Cassius Marsh: The Patriots gave up two draft picks for Marsh before the season and he only lasted nine games.
59. Trevor Reilly: He was on and off the roster and never fully caught on as a defender or special teams player.
60. Jonathan Freeny: He played just one game with the Patriots this season.
60. Bernard Reedy: It’s unclear why he was on the 53-man roster to finish the season.
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