In a pair of pieces posted on CBSSports.com, senior NFL writer Pete Prisco and NFL Insider Pat Kirwan each delivered their annual Top 100 player rankings entering the upcoming season. Prisco's list includes quotes from GMs and other personnel men around the league, but both are derived from careful film study.
A trio of New England Patriots -- quarterback Tom Brady, tight end Rob Gronkowski and cornerback Darrelle Revis -- appears on both lists, while safety Devin McCourty (62nd) also cracks Prisco's list and guard Logan Mankins (58th), linebacker Jerod Mayo (77th) and defensive tackle Vince Wilfork (92nd) land on Kirwan's submission.
Both columnists include Brady in their top five overall players, as Kirwan has Brady ranked as the very best player in the NFL, writing: "He does more with less. He could take any team in the AFC and win the division."
Prisco adds: "With little help last season, he still played at a high level to lead the Patriots to the AFC title game. He's far from done. Don't buy that talk."
There's been much discussion this offseason of where Brady ranks among the current quarterback hierarchy, but both Kirwan and Prisco clearly believe he remains near the very best. Ranking players can be a difficult exercise, though we'd align with Kirwan and Prisco as it pertains to Brady's status.
Here are the full Patriot rankings for each list.
5. Tom Brady
24. Rob Gronkowski
28. Darelle Revis
62. Devin McCourty
1. Tom Brady
21. Darelle Revis
54. Rob Gronkowski
58. Logan Mankins
77. Jerod Mayo
92. Vince Wilfork