Patriots' All-Time roster: offense

In a two-part series, PatriotMaven looks at the top players at each position in franchise history. This part focuses solely on the offensive side of the ball.
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Quarterback- Tom Brady 

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

What a shocker. Bet everyone thought this would read Hugh Millen or Babe Parilli, right? 

All jokes aside, the only answer is Tom Brady for obvious reasons. Ever since the sixth round pick out of Michigan took over this franchise, he has led a once-helpless franchise to six Super Bowl titles and counting. He leads the franchise in wins, yards, touchdowns, completions, and quarterback rating (with over 100 attempts). This pick is undisputed. 

Runningback - Curtis Martin

CouresPro Football Hall of Fame

CouresPro Football Hall of Fame

Yes, Curtis Martin only played three seasons in New England before going to New York. Regardless, his pure talent and ability at runningback were so undeniable that leaving him off this list would be borderline criminal. Martin reached the fourth spot on the Patriots' all-time rushing list in those three seasons. 

Fullback- Jim Nance 

Herb Scharfman/Sports Imagery

Herb Scharfman/Sports Imagery

If there was a poll of one hundred old-time Patriots fans on whether the best fullback was Sam Cunningham or Jim Nance, it might split right down the middle. The margin between the two is very slim. Yet, Jim Nance gets the edge. 

To this day, Nance is only a little more than one hundred yards behind Cunningham for the leading spot on the Patriots' all time rushing list. Yet, Nance has the most rushing touchdowns in New England history (45) in less games and on less carries than Cunningham. Nance, the 1966 MVP and two time league-leading rusher, also did not have the advantage of rushing behind a pulling John Hannah or a tackle like Leon Gray. Although, he did have Jon Morris to run behind. A line of just Jon Morris however, stands no comparison to one with the greatest guard to ever do it and another Patriots' Hall of Famer with him. 

Nance vs Cunningham is a close one. However, Nance gets the edge.  

Wide Receiver- Stanley Morgan 

Otto Gruelle Jr/Getty Images

Otto Gruelle Jr/Getty Images

Can you imagine Stanley Morgan's numbers with a quarterback like Brady or even Drew Bledsoe? Can you imagine their numbers with a receiver like Morgan? 

Morgan is firmly the number one guy in this all-time Patriots receiving corps. To this day, he is 2,491 receiving yards ahead of the second place guy (Rob Gronkowski) for career receiving yards among pass-catchers in team history. Morgan also is a strong candidate for the most exciting/entertaining pass catcher the Patriots ever had. The only two that could challenge him on that would be Gronkowski or Randy Moss. 

Slot- Wes Welker

Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Wes Welker is the greatest slot receiver of all time. Welker revolutionized the way the slot receiver was used in the NFL. In his time with New England, Welker caught 672 passes for 7,459 yards and 37 touchdowns. He would make five Pro Bowls and be a two-time First Team All-NFL selection. 

His value to a team like the 2009 Patriots team was apparent when his spectacular season would be spoiled by a season-ending ACL/MCL tear in Week 17 against the Texans. That offense then struggled to put anything together on offense against the Ravens the next week in the Wild Card round and lost in his absence. One can not help but think that the fate of that game would have been much different for Brady and the Patriots with Welker on the field.  

Some might be up in arms that Edelman, a clutch guy who has played his entire career in New England is not in this spot. While we had a tough time comparing Nance and Cunningham, Welker vs. Edelman is so much closer. Welker gets the edge, for now. Edelman's case for the greatest slot receiver in franchise history is dramatically weakened when comparing his career stats to Welker's. With a few more years left in the tank for Edelman and Gronk now gone from the offense, Edelman has a great opportunity to strengthen his case with a presumedly increasing target share. This spot might read differently in a few years. But right now it reads Wes Welker. 

Tight End- Rob Gronkowski 

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots great Ben Coates had a fabulous career that was without a doubt worthy of this distinction until Gronkowski came on to the scene. 

Gronkowski is definitely in the discussion for the greatest tight end of all-time in NFL history. Anyone in a discussion like that is probably the best in the history of their respective team(s). He was the complete package at tight end. An unstoppable force in the passing game, hard to tackle, high football IQ and fabulous blocker. This spot is not up for debate. 

Offensive Tackle- Matt Light

Elise Amendola/AP Photos

Elise Amendola/AP Photos

Brady's longtime blindside protector deserves a spot on this list. Matt Light was a key part of the Patriots offense for 11 seasons. Light was also a two time All-Pro. Not too many other tackles in New England history can even hold a candle to what Light did with the Patriots. 

Offensive Guard- John Hannah 

Manny Millan/Sports Illustrated

Manny Millan/Sports Illustrated

What do Brady, Gronkowski and John Hannah all have in common? They are all widely considered the best players at their respective positions. Hannah was taking freakishly large defensive linemen and demolishing them on a weekly basis. He was quick for his size and had textbook technique. Any aspiring NFL guards should turn on some Hannah tape. 

Center- Jon Morris

Courtesy of the New England Patriots

Courtesy of the New England Patriots

Jon Morris played 130 games for the Patriots. Morris also went to nine All-Star/Pro Bowl games in his career, and was the first Patriot to be named to one. Despite the current lack of accolades, David Andrews when everything is all set and done could have an argument for this spot. Although, he would certainly have to do a lot to upstage a great like Morris. 

Guard- Logan Mankins

Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Logan Mankins played nine seasons in New England and made six Pro Bowls in that time. Mankins was an incredible leader for the team and that offensive line. He even played an entire season with a torn ACL, which is just impossible to fathom. 

Manlins bent over backwards for his team until he was shipped to Tampa Bay during the 2014 offseason. Belichick said himself, after the trade, “Logan Mankins is everything we would ever want in a football player. It is hard to imagine a better player at his position, a tougher competitor or a person to represent our program. He is one of the all-time great Patriots and the best guard I ever coached."

Tackle- Bruce Armstrong

Courtesy of the New England Patriots

Courtesy of the New England Patriots

Bruce Armstrong played his entire career in New England and started 212 games in his 13 seasons. Armstrong made it to six Pro Bowls and much like the other pre-Belichick players on this list (with exception to Martin), he resides in the Patriots Hall of Fame. Near the end of his career in 1999, Armstrong played with torn ligaments in his knee and still made the Pro Bowl as an alternate.