How many Patriots make PFF’s Top 50 for 2020?

Andy Hart
June 03, 2020 - 2:21 pm

Pro Football Focus has released its list of the top 50 players in the NFL heading into the 2020 season.

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Only one Patriots player, reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore, made the cut coming in at No. 12 overall.

“The closest thing the NFL has in 2020 to a shutdown corner, Stephon Gilmore has taken his game to another level,” writes PFF. “Last season, Gilmore allowed a passer rating when targeted of just 47.4, notching 13 pass breakups and allowing fewer than 50% of targets to be caught — and that’s despite DeVante Parker ‘Mossing’ him at the catch point a couple of times to ruin his numbers. In single coverage over the past three seasons, Gilmore leads all defensive players and all cornerbacks by a significant distance in PFF grade and has allowed just 41.9% of passes to be caught.”

Gilmore is the second defender in PFF’s Top 50, behind only the No. 1 overall player on the list, Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald.

Interestingly, Gilmore ranks 12 spots higher on the list than former teammate and now-Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady. In explaining Brady’s ranking, PFF declares what many Patriots fans now also acknowledge, that the GOAT was far from his best in his final season in New England last fall even if the fall-off wasn’t totally due to TB12’s own aging skills.

“Tom Brady’s 2019 was a major drop-off from his previous baseline of play,” PFF explains. “When you consider his age, the natural reaction is to believe that Father Time is finally catching up with him and gaining an upper hand in that battle. But the tape shows the root of almost all of his issues — the lack of receiver help. That’s not an issue in Tampa Bay, where the Buccaneers have two receivers on this top-50 list. Brady can still play, though perhaps not quite at his very best level anymore. He is still one of the best quarterbacks in the league.”

After Donald, the top five players on the PFF Top 50 includes Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, Falcons WR Julio Jones, Colts G Quenton Nelson and 49ers TE George Kittle, in that order.

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