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Pro Football Focus Ranks Patriots As No. 1 Roster In NFL

BOSTON (CBS) -- Patriots fans may remember Sam Monson and Pro Football Focus for an article that came out two years ago which stated that Tom Brady was no longer a top-five quarterback in the NFL. And they remember ESPN for, well, a number of things.

But fear not, New England. The dogs can be called off this June, as the Monson/PFF/ESPN trio has combined to send a peace offering to the region.

In a story ranking all of the rosters in the NFL, PFF determined that the Patriots have the very best.

The methodology involved looking at PFF grades over the past two seasons, with extra weight added to the more recent year, "then we added a closer evaluation for added context, which allowed us, for example, to reward teams that have an excellent quarterback situation but a relative hole along the defensive line when it came to run defense."

The end result: The Patriots are tops.

PFF ranked the top five players on the Patriots roster as Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady, Dont'a Hightower, Jamie Collins and Devin McCourty. The five starters who should be upgraded, per PFF, were Shaq Mason, Bryan Stork, Rob Ninkovich and LeGarrette Blount.

"The Brady-Gronkowski connection continues to be one of the best in the game, but the unique collection of smaller, quick receivers who can operate within a horizontal-based passing attack are all important players for the Patriots," Monson wrote. "The one weakness is the offensive line, where they have yet to be able to nail down five reliable performers. New England, however, is unusually qualified to mitigate this issue with the offense it runs and the speed at which Brady can get the ball out of his hands, consistently among the quickest in the league."

Monson wrote that the Patriots are No. 1, but the other top contenders -- Green Bay ranks second, Carolina third -- "aren't far behind."

The Patriots remain head and shoulders above their AFC East competition, with the Buffalo Bills ranking 14th, the New York Jets 23rd, and the Miami Dolphins 26th. The Cleveland Browns (31) and San Francisco 49ers (32) hold down the final two spots.


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