Outsiders: 3 'hidden' Patriots

In a piece now posted on ESPN.com, Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders puts together his annual list of top 25 "hidden" talents in the NFL.

"For the uninitiated, our top prospects list isn't like the prospect lists you read about in the world of baseball. Because the top prospects in college football are stars on national television before they get taken in the first round of the NFL draft, there's not much utility in listing them here. Everyone knows Andrew Luck is a top prospect who is likely to succeed in the NFL," Schatz writes. "Instead, we use a combination of statistics, measurables, context and expected role to compile a list of under-the-radar players whom we expect to make an impact in the NFL, both in 2012 and beyond."

Schatz then further breaks down the criteria:

1. Drafted in the third round or later, or signed as an undrafted free agent

2. Entered the NFL between 2009 and 2011

3. Fewer than five career games started

4. Still on their initial contract

5. Age 26 or younger in 2012

Schatz puts three Patriots on the list -- running back Stevan Ridley (5th), quarterback Ryan Mallett (16th) and offensive lineman Marcus Cannon (19th).

To read the piece (Insider content), CLICK HERE.