Zolak & Bertrand

Zolak & Bertrand

All offseason we’ve spent time dreaming about potentially adding DeAndre Hopkins to the Patriots, but who are the Top 5 players on the team right now?

During the Tom Brady era this was almost an impossible chanllenge. From the first half of the dynasty until the very end, there were proven Super Bowl winners that had done the job on the biggest stage. That’s not a reality for the Patriots anymore.

Mike Giardi started this trend a few days ago on Twitter and it has become a heavily debated topic with 2 weeks remaining until training camp. Evan Lazar joined in on the fun with his on list as well. Most of the debate isn’t over the first few names, but it comes down to those final two spots and whether you value offense or defense more.

Another major factor that should be excluded is age. It’s not about the future or what a player is going to turn into one day, if that was the case it would look a bit different. This is all about the here and now, and what these players are going to add to the Patriots this upcoming season.

Giardi’s Top 5: Matt Judon, Rhamondre Stevenson, Michael Onwenu, Kyle Dugger, and Hunter Henry

Lazar’s Top 5: Matt Judon, Kyle Dugger, Michael Onwenu, Jonathan Jones, Rhamondre Stevenson

It’s not an easy task. That probably speaks on the state of the Patriots more than anything, but there have been new additions this offseason that are expected to make an impact.

Could Mike Gesicki make the list? How about their big offseason signing of JuJu Smith-Schuster? We all know Hopkins would immediately jump into the same tier as Judon.

Beetle and Hardy both did the exercise, and they landed with the same grouping as Giardi. As usual, I saw things a little bit differently. Here’s the way I ended up breaking things down.

  • 1. Matt Judon

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - NOVEMBER 20: Matthew Judon #9 of the New England Patriots celebrates during the first quarter aj at Gillette Stadium on November 20, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – NOVEMBER 20: Matthew Judon #9 of the New England Patriots celebrates during the first quarter at Gillette Stadium on November 20, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

    This is the easiest pick of all. Matt Judon is the best player currently on the Patriots and while that’s a problem, it’s the reality. Last season he finished 9th in Defense Player of the Year Voting and landed on the NFL’s Top 100 list at #52.

  • 2. Rhamondre Stevenson

    Patriots running back #38 Rhamondre Stevenson runs for a big gain after getting a block from #71 Mike Onwenu in the 4th. (Bob Breidenbach/USA TODAY NETWORK)

    Patriots running back #38 Rhamondre Stevenson runs for a big gain after getting a block from #71 Mike Onwenu in the 4th. (Bob Breidenbach/USA TODAY NETWORK)

    This was the other obvious answer. Rhamondre Stevenson broke out in a big way in his sophomore campaign, running for 1,040 yards and 5 touchdowns. He’s the best weapon this offense has its disposal.

  • 3. Hunter Henry

    Henry

    Hunter Henry reacts to one of eight TD grabs in the red zone in 2021. He’s still looking to celebrate his first of 2022. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

    It was a down season for Hunter Henry last year, but I’m not blaming him for it. His first year with Mac Jones was extremely solid, as he became a key security blanket and caught 9 touchdowns. As long as Henry can stayhealthy, I fully expect that connection to spark back up with Bill O’Brien calling the plays.

  • 4. Kyle Dugger

    Jan 1, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots safety Kyle Dugger (23) runs for a touchdown after intercepting the ball during the second half of agame against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

    New England Patriots safety Kyle Dugger (Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports)

    In Kyle Dugger’s third season in the NFL, he proved himself as one of the key pillars of the Patriots defense moving forward. It seems like the rest of the league is also catching on, as he was an honorable mention on Jeremy Fowler’s Top 10 safeties list. With Devin McCourty retiring, he’s more important to this defense than ever.

  • 5. Josh Uche

    Dec 18, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; New England Patriots linebacker Josh Uche (55) celebrates after getting a sack against the Las Vegas Raiders during the second half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

    New England Patriots linebacker Josh Uche (Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports)

    While last season was a headache in a lot of ways, the breakout of Josh Uche was arguably the biggest positive. He finished the year with 11.5 sacks and 14 QB hits. If the Patriots defense is going to be as elite as some are hoping, Uche needs to repeat those numbers moving forward.

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