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Three out of nowhere

Much like their team as a whole, some individual Patriots took decided star turns this year.

Much like their team as a whole, some individual Patriots took decided star turns this year. Here’s three you didn’t figure would be standouts back in September:

Deion Branch
All of New England was shocked when the news broke that Randy Moss was traded to Minnesota. Former Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch made sure Moss was quickly forgotten after his return to the Pats, making 40 catches for 555 yards and four TDs.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis
When the Patriots took Laurence Maroney with the 21st overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, they expected big production out of their running game around this time. Their lead rusher picked up 1,008 yards and 13 touchdowns this year, but it wasn’t Maroney doing the gaining — it was BenJarvus Green-Ellis.

Devin McCourty
If Darrelle Revis is an island, then Patriots rookie cornerback Devin McCourty is becoming the Bermuda Triangle for opposing receivers — they seem to disappear around him. McCourty, a first-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, had 82 tackles, two forced fumbles and seven interceptions on the season.

He has more than stepped up in place of veteran cornerback Leigh Bodden, who was placed on IR

 
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