Patriots dominate Pro Football Focus' ranking of top rookies in preseason

Patriots dominate Pro Football Focus' ranking of top rookies in preseason

One of the most encouraging developments through the first two weeks of the preseason for the New England Patriots has been the impressive performance of their rookie class.

Pro Football Focus on Wednesday released its ranking of the top 10 offensive and defensive rookies from the first two weeks of the preseason and three Patriots players made the list.

Jarrett Stidham came in at No. 3 among offensive players. The former Auburn quarterback is completing 65.1 percent of his passes for 372 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions through two games. Stidham winning the backup job over Brian Hoyer wouldn't be a shocking scenario if his performance continues to impress.

The best rookie for the Patriots has been undrafted wide receiver Jakobi Meyers. Here's what PFF had to say about the North Carolina State product, who was ranked No. 1:

Few have been as high on Meyers as PFF has over the past few months, which is primarily a result of his contested-catch ability as well as his collegiate progression. The undrafted rookie from NC State earned an 82.5 overall grade last year, 37th among wide receivers while his 86.2 receiving graded pitted him at No. 21, seven spots behind his now-teammate N’Keal Harry. In eight of his 11 regular-season games last year, he saw double-digit targets, earning 80.0-plus grades in four them.

Meyers has always been up for the challenge and working with the Patriots first team in training camp appears to be just another stepping stone on his inevitable path to success at the next level.

The one Patriots rookie who made the top 10 defensive players list was Chase Winovich at No. 2. The edge rusher from Michigan tallied six tackles, two QB hits and a sack in the win versus the Titans.

A few other Patriots rookies have impressed in the preseason.

First-round draft pick N'Keal Harry played a limited number of snaps in the preseason opener against the Detroit Lions and made two quality catches before exiting with an apparent injury. Third-round pick Damien Harris was one of New England's best players in last week's victory over the Titans with 103 total yards. The Alabama running back is making a compelling case to be drafted late in your fantasy football league.

It's not often a team has so many standout performances from rookies in the preseason. The Patriots lost several talented players to free agency after winning Super Bowl LII in February, but their most recent draft class should be a tremendous help in filling out the roster with the required depth to make another deep run in the NFL playoffs.

New study says Patriots have second-easiest path to Super Bowl LIV>>>

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Celtics coach Brad Stevens gives simple take on why Patriots are a 'juggernaut'

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USA TODAY Sports

Celtics coach Brad Stevens gives simple take on why Patriots are a 'juggernaut'

The New England Patriots have provided the rest of the NFL a blueprint for how to establish consistent success, and they've done the same for the other professional sports teams in Boston.

Even though these four sports all have different elements that make them unique, some of the same areas the Patriots excel in can be translated from one sport to another. 

A good example is everyone, from the coaching staff down to the players, being on the same page and focused on one goal. It's a theme Celtics head coach Brad Stevens focused on when asked Wednesday on WEEI's "Ordway, Merloni and Fauria" what makes the Patriots so successful.

“The thing that stands out when you go over and watch the Patriots do workouts and sit in meetings and sit in film is they are on one page," Stevens said. 

"They are in one direction. His message, although has thousands of complexities within each scheme defensively and offensively, his message is concise. It’s ultimately not only well delivered, but well received. You can tell that thing is a juggernaut. That is a train moving in one direction. They know what they need to do to be successful. I don’t think it’s brain surgery the way that I have seen it from up and close and afar is they don’t beat themselves. There are a lot of things in a football game that ultimately lead to that and they are the best at them.”

Stevens is right, the Patriots always have a concise message each week. It's all about preparation -- everyone knows what their job entails and how it's going to make the team successful against that particular opponent. The  "Do Your Job" mentality isn't just a cool slogan in Foxboro, it's how the team operates. 

The Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins all have won championships since the Patriots kicked off a golden era in the city's sports history with a Super Bowl XXXVI victory in Feb. 2002. The Patriots are the gold standard, however, and teams across all leagues will be taking elements of New England's success for a very long time.

Study: Patriots have easiest road to Super Bowl LIV>>>

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Fantasy football 2019 mock draft: When to draft Josh Gordon in 10-team league

Fantasy football 2019 mock draft: When to draft Josh Gordon in 10-team league

Some fantasy football owners can glance at a few cheat sheets and depth charts and feel prepared for their drafts.

The rest of us? We're more hands-on learners. And that's where the mock draft comes in.

Should you draft a running back or a wide receiver with the seventh pick in the first round? See who an expert picked at No. 7. How soon is too soon to draft a quarterback? Check out the team of an owner who snagged a QB in the early rounds and decide if you like that approach.

The mock draft is a valuable tool for fantasy owners of all skill levels, which is why we rounded up the staff at NBC Sports Boston -- including our two Patriots Insiders, Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry -- to conduct our own 10-team mock draft on the Yahoo Fantasy Football platform.

Here are the details: Snake draft, standard scoring (half-point PPR) and a standard roster (one QB, two RBs, two WRs, one TE, one FLEX, one K, one DEF, six bench spots).

And here's how everything shook out, with our brief takeaways for each round.

ROUND 1

1. Nick Goss -- Alvin Kamara, RB, Saints
2. Jacob Camenker -- Saquon Barkley, RB, Giants
3. Darren Hartwell -- Christian McCaffrey, RB, Panthers
4. Tom E. Curran -- JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Steelers
5. Michael DePrisco -- David Johnson, RB, Cardinals
6. Phil Perry -- Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys
7. Pat Dunne -- DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans
8. Dave Green -- Le'Veon Bell, RB, Jets
9. Justin Leger -- Nick Chubb, RB, Browns
10. Jason Levine -- Davante Adams, WR, Packers

Our takeaway: Leave it to Tom to buck convention and take Smith-Schuster at No. 4 overall. His defense: "Who else are the Stelers going to throw to?" Bell going in Round 1 is an upset, too, as he's fallen to the second or third round in some mocks.

ROUND 2

11. Jason -- James Conner, RB, Steelers
12. Justin -- Julio Jones, WR, Falcons
13. Dave -- Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Browns
14. Pat -- Michael Thomas, WR, Saints
15. Phil -- Travis Kelce, TE, Chiefs
16. Michael -- Tyreek Hill, WR, Chiefs
17. Tom -- George Kittle, TE, 49ers
18. Darren -- Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals
19. Jacob -- Todd Gurley, RB, Rams
20. Nick -- Patrick Mahomes, QB, Chiefs

Our takeaway: Mahomes in the second round is a bit early for my taste. He's the consensus QB1, but I'd probably hold off until the second or third round. But the fact that Kelce and Hill both went ahead of him proves Kansas City should have an explosive offense again this season.

ROUND 3

21. Nick -- Amari Cooper, WR, Cowboys
22. Jacob -- Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers
23. Darren -- Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers
24. Tom -- Kerryon Johnson, RB, Lions
25. Michael -- Marlon Mack, RB, Colts
26. Phil -- Antonio Brown, WR, Raiders
27. Pat -- Baker Mayfield, QB, Browns
28. Dave -- Dalvin Cook, RB, Vikings
29. Justin -- Zach Ertz, TE, Eagles
30. Jason -- Damien Williams, RB, Chiefs

Our takeaway: How the mighty have fallen... A third-round pick is the new reality for Brown after his move from Pittsburgh to the Black Hole. Mack at No. 25 is a bit of an eye-raiser.

ROUND 4

31. Jason -- Deshaun Watson, QB, Texans
32. Justin -- Aaron Jones, RB, Packers
33. Dave -- Adam Thielen, WR, Vikings
34. Pat -- Derrick Henry, RB, Titans
35. Phil -- T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts
36. Michael -- Stefon Diggs, WR, Vikings
37. Tom -- Chris Godwin, WR, Buccaneers
38. Darren -- Julian Edelman, WR, Patriots
39. Jacob -- Melvin Gordon, RB, Chargers
40. Nick -- Josh Jacobs, RB, Raiders

Our takeaway: Jacobs is a nice pickup for Nick at the end of Round 4. Jon Gruden is an old-school coach with an affinity for workhorse backs, which could translate into tons of touches for the rookie out of Alabama.

ROUND 5

41. Nick -- Vance McDonald, TE, Steelers
42. Jacob -- Leonard Fournette, RB, Jaguars
43. Darren -- Robert Woods, WR, Rams
44. Tom -- Devonta Freeman, RB, Falcons
45. Michael -- Kenny Golladay, WR, Lions
46. Phil -- Brandin Cooks, WR, Rams
47. Pat -- Sony Michel, RB, Patriots
48. Dave -- Tyler Boyd, WR, Bengals
49. Justin -- David Montgomery, RB, Bears
50. Jason -- Mike Williams, WR, Chargers

Our takeaway: I'm wary of Michel in the top 50 based on his balky knee and Bill Belichick's penchant for torturing fantasy owners. If you draft Michel, consider scooping up Damien Harris later on.

ROUND 6

51. Jason -- Jarvis Landry, WR, Browns
52. Justin -- D.J. Moore, WR, Panthers
53. Dave -- Chris Carson, RB, Seahawks
54. Pat -- Calvin Ridley, WR, Falcons
55. Phil -- Mark Ingram, RB, Ravens
56. Michael -- Tevin Coleman, RB, 49ers
57. Tom -- Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks
58. Darren -- Tyler Lockett, WR, Seahawks
59. Jacob -- Curtis Samuel, WR, Panthers
60. Nick -- Alshon Jeffery, WR, Eagles

Our takeaway: Rounds 5 and 6 are a good time to fill out depth at wide receiver and running back ... unless you're the intrepid Tom E. Curran, who made Wilson the fourth QB off the board.

ROUND 7

61. Nick -- James White, RB, Patriots
62. Jacob -- A.J. Green, WR, Bengals
63. Darren -- Evan Engram, TE, Giants
64. Tom -- Robby Anderson, WR, Jets
65. Michael -- Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
66. Phil -- Cooper Kupp, WR, Rams
67. Pat -- O.J. Howard, TE, Buccaneers
68. Dave -- Hunter Henry, TE, Chargers
69. Justin -- Will Fuller V, WR, Texans
70. Jason -- Jared Cook, TE, Saints

Our takeaway: Here comes the run on mid-tier tight ends! I'm partial to Engram, who's in a bad Giants offense but should see an uptick in targets in Beckham's absence.

ROUND 8

71. Jason -- Phillip Lindsay, RB, Broncos
72. Justin -- Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons
73. Dave -- Allen Robinson II, WR, Bears
74. Pat -- Drew Brees, QB, Saints
75. Phil -- Sammy Watkins, WR, Chiefs
76. Michael -- Miles Sanders, RB, Eagles
77. Tom -- Tarik Cohen, RB, Bears
78. Darren -- Andrew Luck, QB, Colts
79. Jacob -- Cam Newton, QB, Panthers
80. Nick -- David Njoku, TE, Browns

Our takeaway: Are there a ton of red flags around Luck? Yes. Is he doomed to endure another injury-riddled season? Maybe. But I think the value is good enough at No. 78 given what he can do when healthy.

ROUND 9

81. Nick -- Jordan Howard, RB, Eagles
82. Jacob -- Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals
83. Darren -- Christian Kirk, WR, Cardinals
84. Tom -- Latavius Murray, RB, Saints
85. Michael -- Eric Ebron, TE, Colts
86. Phil -- Kenyan Drake, RB, Dolphins
87. Pat -- Corey Davis, WR, Titans
88. Dave -- Dede Westbrook, WR, Jaguars
89. Justin -- Lamar Miller, RB, Texans
90. Jason -- Devin Funchess, WR, Colts

Our takeaway: Drake's foot injury is scaring a lot of people off, but he's still a top-30 running back in our rankings, so Phil got great value here at No. 86.

ROUND 10

91. Jason -- Damien Harris, RB, Patriots
92. Justin -- Rashaad Penny, RB, Seahawks
93. Dave -- Austin Ekeler, RB, Chargers
94. Pat -- Royce Freeman, RB, Broncos
95. Phil -- Duke Johnson Jr., RB, Texans
96. Michael -- Derrius Guice, RB, Redskins
97. Tom -- Sterling Shepard, WR, Giants
98. Darren -- Kyler Murray, QB, Cardinals
99. Jacob -- Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles
100. Nick -- Bears D/ST

Our takeaway: Round 10 saw an epic run on backup running backs. I think Michael got the best value with Derrius Guice, who will split carries with Adrian Peterson but still should be featured prominently in Washington's run-heavy offense.

ROUND 11

101. Nick -- Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys
102. Jacob -- Delanie Walker, TE, Titans
103. Darren -- Matt Breida, RB, 49ers
104. Tom -- Justin Tucker, K, Ravens
105. Michael -- Ravens D/ST
106. Phil -- Marvin Jones Jr., WR, Lions
107. Pat -- Kyle Rudolph, TE, Vikings
108. Dave -- Dante Pettis, WR, 49ers
109. Justin -- Darrell Henderson Jr., RB, Rams
110. Jason -- LeSean McCoy, RB, Bills

Our takeaway: ... And there goes the first kicker, four rounds too soon. We're disappointed in you, Tom.

ROUND 12

111. Jason -- Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Broncos
112. Justin -- Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, Packers
113. Dave -- Jared Goff, QB, Rams
114. Pat -- Greg Zuerlein, K, Rams
115. Phil -- Lamar Jackson, QB, Ravens
116. Michael -- DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles
117. Tom -- Jaguars D/ST
118. Darren -- Rams D/ST
119. Jacob -- Golden Tate, WR, Giants
120. Nick --Will Lutz, K, Saints

Our takeaway: Amid an ugly round of defenses and kickers, Justin got good value in Valdes-Scantling, who has the chance to be the No. 2 in Green Bay behind Davante Adams.

ROUND 13

121. Nick -- Jamison Crowder, WR, Jets
122. Jacob -- James Washington, WR, Steelers
123. Darren -- Kalen Ballage, RB, Dolphins
124. Tom -- Courtland Sutton, WR, Broncos
125. Michael -- Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers
126. Phil -- Nyheim Hines, RB, Colts
127. Pat -- Geronimo Allison, WR, Packers
128. Dave -- Vikings D/ST
129. Justin -- Donte Moncrief, WR, Steelers
130. Jason -- Patriots D/ST

Our takeaway: Tom redeemed himself with a nice sleeper pick in Sutton, who could be in for a breakout season. I'm also a fan of Ballage if Drake's injury bleeds into the regular season.

ROUND 14

131. Jason -- Robbie Gould, K, 49ers
132. Justin -- Chargers D/ST
133. Dave -- N'Keal Harry, WR, Patriots
134. Pat -- Anthony Miller, WR, Bears
135. Phil -- Jakobi Meyers, WR, Patriots
136. Michael -- Trey Burton, TE, Bears
137. Tom -- Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, 49ers
138. Darren -- Josh Gordon, WR, Patriots
139. Jacob -- Eagles D/ST
140. Nick -- Ronald Jones II, RB, Buccaneers

Our takeaway: Let's get nuts! Phil pulled the homer card to draft training camp darling Jakobi Meyers, prompting Tom to troll Patriots fans by drafting Jimmy G with Tom Brady still on the board. And Gordon finally comes off the board at No. 138, a pretty good bargain but not much higher than he should be drafted considering the risk you assume in drafting him.

ROUND 15

141. Nick -- Austin Hooper, TE, Falcons
142. Jacob -- Georgio Tavecchio, K, Falcons
143. Darren -- Harrison Butker, K, Chiefs
144. Tom -- Jaylen Samuels, RB, Steelers
145. Michael -- Jake Elliott, K, Eagles
146. Phil -- Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
147. Pat -- Texans D/ST
148. Dave -- Stephen Gostkowski, K, Patriots
149. Justin -- Ka'imi Fairbairn, K, Texans
150. Jason -- Kirk Cousins, QB, Vikings

Our takeaway: We almost made it through a Boston-area fantasy draft without Brady going off the board. Brady may be the real-life GOAT, but he's simply not a top-15 fantasy QB anymore, so don't be fooled by your Patriots-tinted glasses.

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