The Patriots, in recent memory, have solidified themselves as one of the best franchises in all of sports. With their reign of terror in the 2000s and incredible championship runs, this team has a deep history full of incredibly talented players that all hit the mainstream.
If I’m being truthful, that last sentence was not completely honest. With a player like Tom Brady, and his teammates Randy Moss, Rob Gronkowski, and the rest, many of the most talented players were overshadowed.
The players listed didn’t see much time during the most dominant era of Patriots football and didn’t see much limelight. However, these underrated Patriots players weren’t just dominant, they were bonafide stars.
3. Roman Phifer, LB, 2001-04
Phifer joined the team at the tail end of his career after a serviceable stretch with the Rams. After a couple of okay years with the Jets, he headed to New England and found his spark.
Two years with 100+ tackles and a season with 9 TFLs, he definitely held his own. He switched up from an outside rushing linebacker and played a more gap-filling inside position in the Pats scheme.
He played almost every snap for the Patriots throughout his career, and made his way to 2 Super Bowl championships with the team.
Even at his older age, he managed to fit in well and be an integral part of the New England defense the second he joined the franchise. His statistics weren’t mesmerizing, but he was a veteran impact player for the champions.
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2. Antowain Smith, RB, 2001-03
Smith’s first 2 years in New England were incredible, especially with a new quarterback in the system. His 2001 year was easily his best, with 1150 yards and 12 touchdowns and a 980 yard 6 touchdown year to follow.
In both Super Bowls he played during the 2001 and 2003 seasons, he had a serious role. 18 attempts for 92 yards against Saint Louis, and 26 attempts for 83 yards and a touchdown against Carolina.
He averaged over 3.5 yards per carry every year in New England, was was either the solidified No. 1 option or a good third down back. He was a staple to the early 2000s Pats offense and doesn’t get the same name recognition.
1. Stanley Morgan, WR, 1977-89
One of the most consistent players of his era, Morgan was a superstar receiver for the Patriots. Long before their winning days, he managed to help put New England on the map.
During his career, he averaged 19.2 yards per reception, and averaged 23.4 in 1981. Its difficult to even earn 15 yards per reception during a single season, and having 19.2 for a career made Morgan one of the most esteemed deep threats in football.
1986 was arguably his best year, with 1,491 yards, 10 touchdowns, making the All-Pro second team. His highlights are legitimately ridiculous, and he torched defenders in YAC. Him, along with the other players listed, made major impacts for their team whether they’re recognized or not and deserve consideration among the underrated Patriots.
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