Originally posted on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 5/23/12

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 10: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots looks on during warm ups against the Baltimore Ravens during the 2010 AFC wild-card playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 10, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

CBS's Pete Prisco has come out with his annual list of top 100 NFL players and it holds five members of the New England Patriots, four of whom fall in the top 50.

Unsurprisingly, the top Patriot is quarterback Tom Brady, who fell a spot after been tied for first with Payton Manning last year. Brady is now second to Aaron Rodgers. Prisco says there is no sign of Brady slowing down anytime soon but suggests keeping him away from the New York Giants.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski is the only other Patriot in the top ten, coming in at ten. Like Brady, Prisco sees not reason why Gronkowski would slow down and not improve, saying that he is "too fast for linebackers and too strong for safeties." That sounds like a pretty accurate analysis and a pretty lethal combination.

Next is nose tackle Vince Wilfork at number 30. Prisco calls him a "wide load in the middle of the New England defense" but says "he's also much quicker than his body would make you think." Wilfork, who is listed at 325 pound but is likely more than that, certainly demonstrated that athleticism. Just in case anyone forgets, Wilfork had his first two interceptions this year and returned them for a combined 47 yards and he had his first touchdown.

Wide receiver Wes Welker is next on the list for the Patriots, coming in at 42. Welker, who Prisco calls the "prototypical slot receiver" led the league in receptions with 122 and was second to only the Detriot Lions' Calvin Johnson with 1,569 yards. Prisco poses the question, "What would the New England offense be without him?" Patriots fans are worried they might find out as Welker's contract negotiations drag on.

The final Patriot on the list is guard Logan Mankins, who played on a torn ACL in the Super Bowl, at 87. Prisco calls him a "mauler when healthy," which sounds like a very accurate description.

Tight end Aaron Hernandez just missed out on the list, but was named the first honorable mention.

Gronkowski, Welker and Mankins are three of the 36 players on the list who did not make last year's list, though Welker and Mankins received honorable mentions in 2011.

The Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers led the list with six players apiece, one more than the Patriots.

The complete list can be found here.

Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

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