New England Patriots 50 most important players and coaches in 2017

HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 05: Tom Brady /
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FOXBORO, MA – DECEMBER 24: Alan Branch
FOXBORO, MA – DECEMBER 24: Alan Branch /

20. RB Rex Burkhead

Before Gillislee, Rex Burkhead was the big addition to the RB corps. Burkhead will still see plenty of action, but I think he’s behind both Gillislee and James White in terms of time on the field. Training camp and preseason games should give us an insight into the role he’ll play this season.

19. WR Malcolm Mitchell

Plenty of you will disagree with me, but I think that Malcolm Mitchell can make the jump to be the Patriots No. 3 receiver behind Edelman and Cooks. Last season as a rookie, Mitchell caught 32 passes for 401 yards and 4 touchdowns. I’m expecting 600+ yards and 6+ touchdowns for him in 2017.

18. CB Eric Rowe

Eric Rowe will be your No. 3 corner this season. Count on it. Last season the Patriots played Rowe in 9 games. He had 8 passes defended, an interception, and 20 tackles.

17. DT Alan Branch

Alan Branch has been the perfect replacement for Vince Wilfork. He doesn’t always appear in the stat sheet with huge numbers, but he clogs gaps. It’s tough for teams to run against a man like Branch.