As organized team activities wrap up and minicamps take place over the course of the next week or so, NFL teams will prepare for the brief summer hiatus that precedes training camp.
During that time, you’ll likely see a number of power rankings to set the stage for the upcoming season.
CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco has offered up his own iteration of a 32-team ranking, and this one includes a unique approach.
It’s based on the idea of building a team starting with four players in mind: a franchise quarterback, pass rusher, cornerback and left tackle, in that order.
In his system, he awarded points based on where a team’s player at a particular position ranked (as an example, the Texans were awarded 32 points for possessing the top left tackle in Prisco’s eyes, Duane Brown). To further stress the importance of quarterback play, the point totals were doubled in that category.
Despite having the second-ranked quarterback in Tom Brady (and thus 62 points towards their total), the Patriots checked in at No. 13 on the list with 88 points, behind four other AFC teams: Denver (t-3rd), Houston (t-3rd), Kansas City (t-9th) and Pittsburgh (12th).
Prisco’s lack of confidence in the Patriot pass rush can help explain the ranking, as he has Chandler Jones (his vote for the team’s top pass rusher) as the worst in the league. On top of that, Prisco ranks Devin McCourty as just the 24th best cornerback.
While it’s unlikely that many would agree that the Patriots enter the season as the 13th-best team in football and fourth within the conference, his approach is a unique one that qualifies as outside of the box thinking.