On the eve of the 2018 NFL season, it’s a time for expert predictions.
Exactly what state those predictions will be in by December remains to be seen, but ESPN’s recently surveyed a field of football experts in a search for the NFL’s 100 best players.
The methodology was purely based on projection for the coming season, and not past performance. For this reason, Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley was listed 87th.
Patriots fans won’t be surprised to learn that Tom Brady is predictably high on the list. Described as one of the “Two GOATs,” Brady is tucked in behind Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in second place.
Ten places down the list is where the next Patriot is found. Rob Gronkowski ranks 12th, in between Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and Rams running back Todd Gurley.
No other current players from Bill Belichick’s team were chosen, though a pair of former Patriots made the cut.
Cardinals pass rusher Chandler Jones, who was traded from New England in March of 2016, ranks 43rd. Since leaving the Patriots, Jones has amassed 28 sacks in two seasons.
And Tom Brady’s former backup, Jimmy Garoppolo was listed 62nd. Though Garoppolo only played a handful of games for the 49ers last season after he was traded in October, he’s projected by experts to excel in San Francisco.