New England Patriots 50 most important players and coaches in 2017

HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 05: Tom Brady /
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FOXBORO, MA – JANUARY 14: Brock Osweiler
FOXBORO, MA – JANUARY 14: Brock Osweiler /

40. QB Jimmy Garoppolo

At all times, we are just a play away from Jimmy Garoppolo being the starting QB for the Patriots once again. While we certainly want Brady to remain upright, Garoppolo is a great backup. His importance can also be felt on the practice field, as his mobility allows him to be used as a scout QB for other starters throughout the league.

39. DE Lawrence Guy

Former Ravens end Lawrence Guy was added to aid the Patriots pass rush in 2017. Last season with Baltimore Guy tallied 10 tackles and a sack. New England will look for the 27-year old to improve those numbers going forward.

38. DE Derek Rivers

Rookie Derek Rivers out of Youngstown State will have to adjust to the speed of the NFL game, but he is extremely athletic and could develop into a star pass rusher. I think he will be right behind the starters in terms of playing time.

37. LB Kyle Van Noy

Kyle Van Noy proved last season that he deserves a ton of time on the field. Between Detroit and New England, Van Noy appeared in 14 games in 2016 with 30 tackles and a sack. As the season went on, he seemed to grow more and more comfortable with the Patriots, so I’m looking for a big jump from Van Noy.

36. DT Malcom Brown

Malcom Brown will be in his third season in 2017. In each of his first two seasons, he tallied 3 sacks, which is just where you’d expect him to be going forward. The big bodied defensive tackle will be crucial against run-heavy teams this year.