Joe Mahoney/Associated Press
Overrated: Tom Brady, QB
Is he still elite?
We aren't talking about career accomplishments here, just players heading into the 2014 season. That's where the question gets tricky for quarterback Tom Brady, who is coming off of a down year.
It was something Pro Football Focus' Sam Monson answered at ESPN.com (subscription required), arguing that Brady is no longer a top-five quarterback based on statistics. Bleacher Report's Cian Fahey had similar sentiments a few days later.
They have a point.
Brady's completion percentage, accuracy rating, average yards per attempt and average yards per completion have all declined over the past three seasons, not to mention his decline in yardage and touchdowns.
Injuries, inconsistency and scandal among his receivers and tight ends have certainly played a part in the decline, but there is something else at play here—age.
Brady turns 37 this summer, and he has never quite had the tactical prowess that his main rival, Peyton Manning, has been able to utilize to overcome physical deficiencies brought on by age.
It's not that Brady has been awful—he still threw for 4,343 yards and 25 touchdowns last season, and he was able to complete five fourth-quarter comebacks for the Patriots—but we might be seeing a future Hall of Famer hitting the twilight of his career.
Underrated: Devin McCourty, S
When he first began his career, Devin McCourty was beaten like a drum at cornerback. The Patriots moved him to safety, however, and he has been stellar ever since.
In fact, McCourty was rated the top safety in the league last season, according to Pro Football Focus. McCourty was targeted just 27 times on 1,039 defensive snaps and 585 snaps in coverage last season, one of the best ratios in the league.
He may be tested more with Darrelle Revis setting up shop on one side of the field this coming season, but McCourty might prove to be the linchpin in that secondary for the Patriots.