MOST DISAPPOINTING PLAYER: Running back Mike Gillislee was supposed to replace and improve upon LeGarrette Blount's contributions that included a franchise-record and NFL-high 18 touchdowns a year ago. But the restricted free agent from Buffalo, where he led the NFL with a 5.7-yard average last fall, never hit his stride. Gillislee averaged just 3.7 yards per carry on 104 attempts. After opening the year with a key role in the first eight games, Gillislee was a healthy scratch six times over the second half of the season, the odd man out in the backfield.
MOST SURPRISING PLAYER: Linebacker Kyle Van Noy became arguably the most important defender on the Patriots' front seven over the course of 2017. He started 12 of the 13 games he played, finishing third on the team with 73 tackles, second with 5.5 sacks and added nine quarterback hits and two passes defensed. Van Noy's versatility was utilized as a run defender in coverage and as a rusher on a very much undermanned edge of the defense.