Picking the five most disappointing Patriots players from their first 10 games this season is like picking the five most impressive players from a Tom Brady-era campaign.

Where do you even start?

New England’s entire operation has been a disappointment in 2023. With a 2-8 record at the bye week, the Patriots are barreling toward a rebuild they only can hope will be accelerated by a top draft pick. And it seems inevitable that neither Bill Belichick nor Mac Jones will be around to see which player New England selects early in Round 1.

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Nevertheless, we rehashed the first-half misery and came up with five Patriots players who were more disappointing than the rest in Weeks 1 through 10.

QB Mac Jones
The obvious choice to top this list. With Bill O’Brien now calling the shots on offense, Jones entered this season with renewed hope for establishing himself as New England’s franchise quarterback. But his play deteriorated to the point he was benched for the final drive in Week 10 and might lose his job after the bye week. The 2021 first-round pick shouldn’t shoulder all of the blame, as the Patriots’ horrendous pass protection and lack of quality pass-catchers helped drag Jones into oblivion. But he also made inexcusable mistakes in the first 10 weeks and probably doesn’t deserve to start another game for the franchise.

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WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
Smith-Schuster was New England’s top offseason acquisition and was brought in to serve as an upgrade over Jakobi Meyers. It made sense on paper, but the veteran receiver instead was a complete non-factor in the first 10 games while looking like he had little left in the tank. Be it a lingering knee injury or general decline, or both, Smith-Schuster would be unplayable if not for other injuries at receiver. The 26-year-old has just 22 catches for 149 yards and one touchdown.

WR Tyquan Thornton
We’d love to make excuses for Thornton, who’s dealt with injuries, poor quarterback play and bad play-calling since being selected in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft. That’s not a good mix for a young receiver. But the reality is Thornton just might not be any good. Pre-draft concerns about his durability and limited route tree have come to fruition, with Thornton barely even being a one-trick pony when he’s healthy enough to play. He received just 15 combined snaps in the last four games and has just 25 catches for 262 yards and two touchdowns since joining the Patriots.

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LB Josh Uche
His breakout 2022 campaign feels like a distant memory. After racking up a career-high 11.5 sacks last season, Uche posted just two sacks in eight games before the bye week. His playing time also was down — 33% of defensive snaps, compared to 38% in 2022 — and he dealt with multiple leg injuries that reportedly scared off potential trade suitors. The hope was that Uche would build off last season’s success and entrench himself as a consistently dominant force on the edge. Now, he looks like a longshot to return in free agency.

G Cole Strange
It’s not Strange’s fault that the Patriots reached to select him in the first round of last year’s draft. And it’s not his fault that his second training camp was wiped out by a knee injury. But Strange, who’s undeniably talented, simply hasn’t been that good when on the field. He absolutely has made strides as a run blocker this season, but pass protection remains an area in which he needs to improve. Strange also still has problems with larger interior defensive linemen, as he did during his rookie campaign. It still is too early to call Strange a bust, but the Patriots surely were hoping for more from him by now.

Honorable mention: Sophomore cornerback Jack Jones, whose turbulent Patriots career ended Monday when he was released. Jones was claimed by the Las Vegas Raiders on Tuesday.

Featured image via Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports Images