For once, the best player on the New England Patriots may not be Tom Brady -- by the numbers, anyway.
Pro Football Focus released its 2018 NFL All-Pro team based on its own player grades, and three Patriots players made the 26-man squad: cornerback Stephon Gilmore, right guard Shaq Mason and special teamer Albert McLellan.
Edge defender Trey Flowers also made PFF's list as a second-team All-Pro behind J.J. Watt and Khalil Mack.
This isn't the official All-Pro team, which the NFL will reveal in a few weeks. But it's still a notable honor for Gilmore, Mason and McLellan, who were the best players at their positions this season according to PFF's grades.
Gilmore, PFF notes, led the NFL with 18 pass breakups and allowed catches on just 46.7 percent of his targets.
Mason, who got passed over for a Pro Bowl nod, was a "dominant" force in the run game for a Patriots offense that ranked fifth in the NFL in rushing yards. He also allowed a career-low 16 QB pressures, per PFF.
McLellan's nod may surprise Patriots fans, who usually see Matthew Slater earn New England's special teams accolades. But the backup linebacker, who signed with the Patriots prior to Week 10, was an excellent blocker on New England's return units and also tallied six special teams tackles without a miss.
So, where is Brady, who joined Gilmore as the Patriots' only two Pro Bowlers this season? The 41-year-old QB still had a decent season -- 4,355 passing yards, 29 touchdown passes and a 65.8 completion percentage -- but wasn't on the same level of Patrick Mahomes, who earned PFF's All-Pro nod after tossing an NFL-best 50 TD passes.
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