2015 Depth Charts: New England Patriots

| 2 years ago
2015 DC NE

2015 Depth Charts: New England Patriots


2015 DC NE

Notes

•  LeGarrette Blount continues to deliver a lot despite not playing many snaps. We’d like to see him get the opportunity for more playing time, because we suspect that just saying he is good is harsh, but until we see him in a bigger role that would just be a guess.

•  Up there with J.J. Watt in the players we didn’t have to think about was Rob Gronkowski. Such a fantastic talent at tight end, his presence is huge for the Patriots. 

•  Jamie Collins burst onto the scene in the playoffs last year, and carried that high level of play into 2014. The sky appears to be the limit for him, and it would come as no surprise if he’s in the Elite discussion this time next year.

•  Darrelle Revis was another slam dunk Elite selection, with another fantastic season in New England. Whether or not the Patriots will keep him around remains to be seen, but he’s one of the few players who you can justify paying that much to.

Team Needs

Wide Receiver: With the way the Patriots offense works, they can get by with what they have here, with the top three players solid starters at worst. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t look to upgrade the position however, as adding a gamebreaking receiver to an offense with Gronkowski would be tough to stop.

Interior Offensive Line: One of the few areas of weakness in New England, where Bryan Stork and Ryan Wendell have struggled. In the very least they should look to bring in some rookies here to push the veterans, but they can upgrade the interior without spending over the odds in free agency.

Free Safety: Can they re-sign Devin McCourty? And if not are they happy enough to give Duron Harmon a shot in the starting lineup. He’s been solid when he’s been on the field, but it’s a big ask to replace one of the best safeties in football.

 

Click here to see the rest of the charts.

 

 

| Analyst, Lead Special Teams Analyst

Gordon has worked at PFF since 2011, and now heads up the company’s special teams analysis processes. His work in-season focuses on college football, while he is also heavily involved in PFF’s NFL draft coverage.

  • davathon

    The equipment manager has to get a blue rating. Deflating the footballs is above and beyond what any other equipment manager was asked to do by their QB/head coach. He probably contributed to winning more than any other equipment manager in sports history.

    • Ed

      Take that crap someplace else, this is PFF not ESPN.

      • Billy

        Lighten up. It’s kinda funny.

      • DrAWNiloc

        “If you’ve got no sense of humor you’ve got no sense at all.” – Earl Gray

        • Riffle,Rod&Fly

          Very good quote! The tea isn’t quite in the green.

        • Ed

          You know what my five top shows are? South Park, Family Guy, Eric Andre Show, Kenny Powers, and Aqua Teen. I think it’s safe to say my sense of humor destroys yours. The above is annoying, old, and worst of all, false. Move along…

          • John

            Don’t try to justify your sense of humor by listing shows you like. Sad.

          • RealRaiderFan0-16

            All those shows are garbage

    • Jaguars28

      Hmm, another salty Dolphins fan.

  • JIMBO JET

    I thought LaFell, would be in the green as he was listed at wr for all the AFC east team (apparently ahead of Julian Edleman)… why the change

    • Tyler Ferree

      This is looking at total body of work, the PFF all AFC East was looking at the single season.

  • twnick2014

    Stork should be listed as “average.” He was very good in pass protection, but leaves a lot to be desired in run-blocking.

    Also, Lafell should be listed as “good”. He played just as well as Edelman last year, and looks to have found his niche in New England.

    • Oppitz

      Yeah, I think they just graded him by perform, but he was a rookie who lost time in training camp and during the season because of a couple of injuries, so you can really expect a lot of improvement from him for next season. Maybe they should include some type of “development” grade, and that is probably where he should’ve been marked.

      I really think he’s gonna be at least an average center.

  • Vitor

    Wondering if McCourty would be ranked Elite or Very Good.

    • JIMBO JET

      Top five, so elite I think

  • AJ

    I’m probably going to get a lot of backlash for this, but is elite a bit too high for Brady? Don’t get me wrong, he had a great year and is obviously a 1st ballot HOF-er, but it was still a level below what Rodgers, Brees, and Big Ben had.

    • Riffle,Rod&Fly

      Yeah, I thought these would make more sense as the list came out but I’m lost. Patsies seemed furious all season with his average’ish weekly PFF grades.

      • Wesley Knight

        You’re a tool and have zero clue what you’re talking about. Please stop.

        • Riffle,Rod&Fly

          Thank you, very informative. Boston’s finest I presume.

          • Wesley Knight

            Is that an insult? Cuz every single comment you’ve made on this thread perpetuates a typical ignorant, jealous fan – probably from some hick southern state – who needs to educate himself before commenting.

          • Riffle,Rod&Fly

            Hmm, there is a lot of snow out right now. Not as much as they have in Patsie-land though.

            I can be forgetful. For example, I often forget that New England isn’t just an alternate universe where everyone doesn’t hate the sports teams there. It’s an actual place that wishes it was NYC!

          • Sigh…

            Obvious Jets fan / troll. You contribute nothing but hate and distraction.

          • Riffle,Rod&Fly

            Sure thing anonymous Chowdahead. I may have embellished a little about the NE area but everything I’ve said about your team this year and the typical Chowdahead reaction to it was true. If you hate trolling so much, you could stop anonymously posting this belligerence after all of my comments.

    • Engaged Reader

      His early season struggles (with a very limited Gronk and bad line play) hurt the total numbers. The extent to which he carried the offense on numerous occasions with no run game (e.g. vs. Detroit, Baltimore, Seattle, Buffalo, NYJ) is extremely impressive. But most importantly, the level of play and production in the biggest games (vs. Denver/Indy/Green Bay/Baltimore/Indy/Settle) was just huge. Rodgers was great, but Brees fell apart late (and thus missed the playoffs in a bad division). I like Ben, but the poor playoff performance weighs heavy. Other than Rodgers, nobody had a better season at QB.

      • AJ

        I think one of the most overlooked aspects of football is playcalling. Brady is a great player on his own, but he’s also been the beneficiary of incredible playcalling and coaching in his career. The Patriot’s playcalls give him more easy throws than just about any QB in the league. He almost never completes throws more than 10 yards downfield unless it’s wide open or to Gronk.

        Again, Brady is a great player on his own, but people too often confuse great quarterbacking and great playcalling. This is a prime reason he was able to rack up a good stat line in the Super Bowl yet still grade negatively on PFF because PFF recognizes the low difficulty of his completions.

        • Engaged Reader

          The play calling is good (mostly–there are stretches where mcdaniels gets way too cute), but as the saying goes, “it’s Jims and Joes not X’s and O’s.” If all you have to do is just throw short stuff and you can hang 28 on Seattle with virtually no run game, why doesn’t everyone do it? I know the PFF system has its flaws, and this may be one of them. Hitting an open man for a 8 yard gain that becomes 12 shouldn’t be a grounds for demerit.

          • ChrisC

            Exactly if was that easy, everyone would be a 2 time MVP QB.

          • Jack Casey

            I know it’s ridiculous. Peopl are basically penalizing Brady for identifying where to go with the ball, and taking what is there against a historic defense, I guess Brady should have consistently challenged Sherman and Thomas downfield, just to get a higher PFF grade. Funny, because with a lot less talented team, and with less possessions, Brady put up 20 more points on Seattle than Manning did with D Thomas, Decker, Welker and J Thomas.

        • oppitz

          Its funny because they kept changing the “playcaller” (McDaniels, Weis, O’Brien…) and he just keep playing at elite level… on the otherside, those “incredible playcallers” goes to other teams and the quarterbacks performs are all under average for them.

          Of course a deep pass is more difficult, but at the end of the day you dont make drives with one play, you dont win games with one play, especially if the defense is not giving you that type of play. Its about the whole game and Brady just knows how to command the offense and how to put points on the board on a regular basis.

          • Vitor

            What, you expected McDaniels to have sucess playcalling for Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow? Even if he had Jerry Rice, Calvin Johnson and Barry Sanders that would be tough.

          • oppitz

            Well, if they are such as easy as they say, then yes, because any average quarterback can make easy throws on a regular basis.

          • Jack Casey

            Also on the play calling… It’s funny, because our “system” has been implemented in Denver, St Louis and Miami… How come Orton and Bradford etc didn’t have a great offense with that same okay calling that is supposedly carrying Brady?

        • Jack Casey

          How can you ever speak on the play calling of the Patriots offense? Brady clearly has the authority to change plays/protection based on what he sees from the defense… And almost every play he is making calls.. So unless he goes to the line, doesn’t say anything, doesn’t make any hand signals or even looks and or nods at a WR, you have no idea if the play that is actually run is being called by the OC or an audible by Brady.

          And if it is so easy to just manipulat Seattles defense and get first read open throws, why doesn’t every team do that? Ever think because of Bradys understanding of coverages he is able to identify where to go with the ball even before the snap? So now we are penalizing QBs for having great understanding of coverages, and taking what’s there? That is some of th most ridiculous analysis I have ever heard.

      • Guest

        No offense intended, but put Brees to play with this defense and let’s see who falls apart.

    • JIMBO JET

      I think he graded just in the top five, so elite makes sense.

      • AJ

        True, but just being in the top 5 doesn’t necessarily equate to elite. Last year when PFF did these, Patrick Willis was the only ILB to be blue because there was a big gap between him and the next closest ILB.

        Same holds true here. Those guys played in a league of their own this past year. Brady had a great year, but others were on a different level.

        • Sam Adams

          You’re an idiot, just because you don’t like the offense he runs, the others are a different level above him? His offensive line is weak compared to other top qbs and you want him to sling it deep? Tom Brady has been the consistent elite for the past few years and had an amazing postseason run, which cannot be said for any of the qbs mentioned. It’s easy to spot jealous haters that spew their awful opinions.

          Signed an objective Raider

    • Tom Downes

      If the blue rating is complete body of work this year, Brady had a huge playoff run even with the interceptions while Manning had 2 less games, Rogers 1 less game, Ben 2 less and Brees, well. Also, the last game SB XLIX came against the best defense in the NFL the last 3 years. Manning got destroyed last SB.

      • Anonymous

        Brady was great this season and definitely in the SB no doubt, but to be fair, that was NOT the same defense that obliterated the Broncos. Seattle’s defense was SIGNIFICANTLY better and deeper in 2013 than it was in 2014. Then you factor in the injuries. It was still hugely impressive display by Brady against he best defense in the NFL in 2014. But trying to say the Seattle defense in 2014 and 2013 were the “same” is not correct.

    • Jack Casey

      I think it is crazy to say ANY quarterback aside from Aaron Rodgers is or was better than Brady. Brady was incredible. Even the first part of the season when he was “in decline” he wasn’t playing as poor as people were making it sound. He as getting hit before he hit his back foot on his drop.

  • Jonny

    For all those saying Brady has no supporting cast, add McCourty to the chart above and factor in the coaching/play-calling and then tell me this isn’t a strong roster outside of the quarterback position.

    • Riffle,Rod&Fly

      There was a lot of whining about the O’line. The Pats seem to start slow and finish strong in recent years. It creates great drama for the league, the dramatic Boston media and provides an easy excuse for fans. I think it is the mark of good coaching. They know their opponents very well at the end of the season.

    • Engaged Reader

      Does anyone say there’s no supporting cast? The defense has some excellent players. But the offense does get a little thin pretty quickly. Gronk is excellent for certain. Lafell and Edelman were free agents last year that didn’t get much interest anywhere else. They’re good, but not great players that are maximized in New England. Blount was a backup in Pittsburgh that got cut. Other than Brady, Gronk, and maybe Vollmer, is there a single offensive player on offense that is one of the top 15-20 or so at their position? It’s not like 2006 all over again with Reche Caldwell and company, but it’s not a stacked offense.

      • Jonny

        That is incorrect about LaFell. He was actually highly sought after. Denver had him higher than Decker on their free-agent radar.

        Also, not having a Calvin Johnson in your offense is not as big a deal as people think because you can compensate for lack of receiver talent with good playcalling, which is exactly what New England has done since BB has been there. Ultimately, no matter how good a receiver is, they can only run the routes the play tells them to. Having a talented receiver just allows you to call certain plays you normally wouldn’t or throw certain passes you normally wouldn’t. But an average receiver can get open with good playcalling.

        • Engaged Reader

          You’ve got to be joking about lafell vs decker. He signed a 3 year deal for about $3 mil a year. Rotoworld ranked him as the 17th best free agent WR last season. Decker got 5 years for 35 mil and was the consensus #1 or 2 best free agent wr. They weren’t comparable. If Denver was more interested in lafell, it’s because they knew they weren’t getting into Decker’s price range. Denver is showing more interest in James Casey and Virgil Green right now than Julius Thomas. It’s not that Thomas is the worst, of course, it’s just that Denver already knows it’s not likely to pay him top dollar.

          • Bart

            Oh yeah, because coaches and executives are saying “let me check Rotoworld to see which free agents would be good for us.” Rotoworld is a fantasy football company anyway, so that’s just one of many reasons they are not a reliable source.

            You can’t really use contracts as evidence of whom the team prioritized. Emmanuel Sanders got less money than Decker despite being higher on Denver’s radar. The reason for the contractual discrepancies is their raw production. Decker was always a candidate to be overpaid to be a number 1 receiver due to his inflated stats even though he’s more of a 2. LaFell was more sought after because of his skill set, much of what wasn’t maximized in Carolina and does not show up in the stat sheet.

            I don’t know whether the bit about James Casey and Virgil Green is true, but a lot of factors come into play here, not just money. Thomas is also a different type of TE from those guys. Not much of a blocker, but a game changing receiver. Green is more of a blocker which Denver could see as a better fit for Kubiak’s misdirection/counter running style offense. Who knows what the real reason is? But you can’t just assume it’s because of money.

          • Engaged Reader

            Of course no team is referring to a website for how they view free agents. But any independent website engaging in analysis is going through the same process. Pff had Decker #2 last year, and that was basically how everyone else viewed the situation. And of course priorities and values are decided by contracts! This is basic stuff. Fit has an impact, but the idea that the league held lafell in such high regard and yet he maxed out around $3 mil a year is nonsensical. If some team thought he was super valuable, he would have received a much better contract. This is completely obvious. There are small variances for different types of receivers (Edelman vs Demaryius) but those are baked into the contract value. Supply and demand.

  • Steve

    I’m just surprised that Kline is rated higher than Stork or Wendell. Not that either of them were great last year, but every time Kline had to come in, the line as a whole seemed to play worse.

    • Engaged Reader

      I don’t care what the numbers suggest. I watched ever play the Pats had this season, and Stork was a better player than Wendell and Kline. It’s not a coincidence the line played much better when Stork was healthy. He’s not great or anything, but he’s probably a yellow grade. Kline and Wendell are Orange.

    • Tom Downes

      Early part of the year Kline was a disaster and the OLine settled down when Wendell went to RG and Stork was healthier. Kline improved later in the season. I suspect Stork was still fighting injuries. The extension for Marcus Cannon may mean he moves inside to guard spot as Fleming was good as backup OT in rookie year.

  • talkingbird

    How come Browner gets a light green rating when he finished in the negatives with your grades?

    • Jack Casey

      They say it’s not just based on 2014 play, past history is taken into account as well.

  • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

    jamie collins is a freak of nature. so fast and explosive for his size. could play all 3 LB positions and could play both end spots if asked to i bet. could probably even play some SS on early downs.

    i’m a broncos fan too, jussayin

  • Justme1966z

    Not sure how the Patriots are 11th in Punting Yards per Average and 10th in Net Average and Ryan Allen is below average.

    • Justme1966z

      I know he has a high rate of touchbacks (1 in 11 kicks) but he also has a high percentage of punts downed inside the 20 (around 40%)..
      And aren’t both stats an artifact of New England’s offense having good starting field and not getting many “three-and-outs?” It seems much easier to get TBs when you are punting from the opposition’s the 45 as opposed to you own 15.

    • oppitz

      Maybe it’s just a case where the Pats dont punt that much and because of that those good cumulative grades end up being smaller then an average guy who punts more often

  • Sam

    I think Nate Solder was average at best in 2014, but people say he was playing hurt… Browner seem a little high too. And whats wrong with Ryan Allen? He should be “good”

  • oppitz

    So I guess you can take Big Vince out of the chart, sad thing to see

  • Harvey Tinzell

    They gotta put Devey and similar guys in training again. Perhaps that’ll do the Patriots some good.