Patriots

Top 50 NFL players: Where Patriots' Stephon GIlmore ranks on Pro Football Focus' list

Top 50 NFL players: Where Patriots' Stephon GIlmore ranks on Pro Football Focus' list

The New England Patriots roster has undergone quite a transition this offseason due to several key players leaving Foxboro, with longtime quarterback Tom Brady being the most notable departure.

There's no question free agency hit the Patriots hard, especially on defense, but there are still plenty of talented players left on the team's roster. The best player might just be cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who won last season's AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year award.

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Pro Football Focus has been unveiling its top 50 NFL players ranking over the last few days. Spots 50 through 12 have been revealed (as of this writing), and the only Patriots player who's made the cut is Gilmore. PFF ranked him as the 12th-best player in the league, just ahead of Houston Texans defensive end J.J.Watt (No. 13), San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman (No. 14) and Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (No. 15).

Gilmore signed a huge free agent contract with the Patriots after the 2016 season and he's lived up to the deal in every way.

He's earned back-to-back first-team All-Pro selections, in addition to being the only cornerback to earn an "elite" grade from Pro Football Focus in 2018. Gilmore played very well in the Patriots' win over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII, including an interception in the fourth quarter that led to the game-clinching field goal. 

The veteran cornerback followed up his 2018 performance with an even better 2019 season. Gilmore led the league with 20 passes defensed and tied for the lead with six interceptions last year. His exceptional play was among the primary reasons why the Patriots pass defense ranked among the league's best in 2019.

The Patriots have brought back most of their secondary entering the 2020 season, and Gilmore is without question the best and most important player in that group.

Patriots' place in new 2020 NFL Power Rankings might surprise you

Patriots TE Devin Asiasi joins Cam Newton, N'Keal Harry for workouts

Patriots TE Devin Asiasi joins Cam Newton, N'Keal Harry for workouts

Twelve days ago, Cam Newton was still a free agent looking for work.

But ever since he agreed to a one-year contract with the Patriots, he's been very busy trying to get ready for the 2020 season, learning the playbook and developing chemistry with his new receivers.

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In addition to N'Keal Harry, whose workout with Newton was captured on video, rookie tight end Devin Asiasi was also catching passes from New England's new quarterback. Twitter user amirmehrtash15 took pictures with both Asiasi and Newton at the UCLA practice session and posted them in reponse to the Providence Journal's Mark Daniels.

The workout wasn't limited to Patriots, as Browns wideout Odell Beckham Jr. was also in attendance.

Newton trying to fast-track a relationship with his new teammates makes perfect sense. He set up his first practice with Mohamed Sanu on the day he signed his Patriots contract, and in less than two weeks, he's already connected with three of the guys who will be among his top receiving options in 2020.

The Patriots certainly hope all that extra work pays off, as training camps could open as soon as the end of this month once the NFL and NFLPA can finalize preseason dates.

Jarvis Landry begs Tom Brady to speak up: 'We need to hear you'

Jarvis Landry begs Tom Brady to speak up: 'We need to hear you'

Tom Brady has lent his name, voice, and stature when players have had issues with the NFL in the past. In 2011, the then-Patriots quarterback was among 10 players who sued the NFL in federal court in an antitrust lawsuit asking to prevent a lawsuit.

And now, one of Brady's NFL brethren is asking the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback to step up again.

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Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry tweeted at Brady Thursday night, imploring the future Hall of Famer to step up and lend his voice on calls with the NFL.

While Landry didn't specify what he was asking Brady to speak up about, the NFL and NFL Players Association have been discussing a litany of issues regarding the upcoming 2020 season, which is only two months away.

A variety of medical and testing protocol questions amid the coronavirus pandemic have yet to be resolved, and the league's ban on postgame jersey swaps was widely lampooned by players on Thursday.

NBC Sports Boston's Tom E. Curran even suggested that the league should postpone the season by a month while it gets its business in order, but for now Landry wants one of the league's most prominent players to assist in the process.

He explained why he called out Brady specifically in a response to a tweet criticizing him for his original post. (Warning: NSFW language below.)

Whether or not Brady lends his voice, the time to figure out all of the roadblocks to a 2020 season is rapidly running out. Rookies are scheduled to report to training camps a week from Sunday.