15 most important Patriots for 2019: No. 8, Joe Thuney

With the Patriots off until training camp, we’re having a series featuring the 15 most important Patriots players for the upcoming season. The countdown will continue for the next several weeks.

No. 8: Joe Thuney

Position: Offensive line

2019 stats: Played every snap of every game and was ranked as one of PFF's best guards in entire NFL

Why he’s No. 8: Thuney is one of the most durable lineman in the league, as not only did he play every snap last season, he hasn't missed a game in his career. PFF ranked he and Shaq Mason the best guard tamdem in the league, and the playoffs showed why. The entire offensive line was outstanding, which allowed the Patriots to have a great deal of success on the ground on the way to winning Super Bowl LIII. It also should be noted Thuney played next to Trent Brown, who had a great first season in New England, and it's likely he played a major role in that.

So why is Thuney on this list and not Mason? Because there's a chance Thuney is asked to play left tackle to open the year with Isaiah Wynn still working his way back from a torn Achilles. Thuney saw a great deal of reps this spring at left tackle and he also played the position at NC State, so it isn't completely new. Given his versatility and potential to slide in protecting Tom Brady's back side to start the year, Thuney is one of the most important players on the entire roster.

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