The New England Patriots rewarded Ja’Whaun Bentley with a two-year contract extension in June.

Why? Well, Bentley has been a constant in the middle of Bill Belichick’s defense, making 47 starts in the last three seasons. In those three years, the 26-year-old has seen his numbers rise in nearly every statistical category.

In short, he’s a really dependable football player. There are a few people who believe he could be more than that, though. In breaking down the Patriots’ main storylines heading into 2023, Adam Rank of NFL Media tabbed Bentley as a “breakout star.”

Here’s what he had to say about the old-school linebacker:

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2023 breakout star: Ja’Whaun Bentley. linebacker. I might be playing a bit fast and loose with this category by calling Bentley a potential breakout player. The 2018 fifth-round pick became a regular starter in 2020, when he was first named a team captain. He received that honor again last season, when he logged a team-high 122 tackles, along with three sacks, a pick and a fumble recovery, then was handed a two-year, $18.75 million extension. He’s as solid as they come. So let’s say I’m focusing on the star portion of this prediction. I feel like Bentley has been underappreciated by the general football-viewing public. He kind of reminds me of how comedian Bill Burr flew under the radar for years. Now Burr is finally starting to receive the accolades he deserves (seriously, he was the bomb in The Mandalorian). It’s time for Bentley to get the same kind of treatment.

Though the Bill Burr reference kind of went over our heads, we see what Rank means when talking about Bentley. He’s the kind of player who does everything right for the Patriots while receiving little credit. If and when that changes, his stock will rise in bigger circles.

    What do you think?  Leave a comment.

The Patriots have a number of players who could soon graduate into the national spotlight, with the hope being that their continued improvement will help New England’s push toward another postseason appearance.

Featured image via Kris Craig/USA TODAY Sports Images