FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 04: Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots celebrates his touchdown with teammate Wes Welker #83 in the third quarter against the Indianapolis Colts on December 4, 2011 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Wide receiver Wes Welker and tight end Rob Gronkowski became the third and fourth Patriots to be named to NFL Network's Top 100 players of 2012. Welker was voted the twenty-third best player and Gronk the twenty-first best by their peers.
Last season, Welker led the NFL with 122 catches and totaled 1,569 receiving yards and nine touchdowns, to go along with it. He is the ninth receiver voted to the list, and improved upon his 2011 ranking of No. 50 overall. Even though Welker performed so well last season, the Patriots have yet to reward him with a long-term contract. He is the team's franchise player, and will earn $9.5 million next season.
As for Gronkowski, who recently inked a contract extension that will make him one of the highest paid tight ends in the league, was the final player named to the list on Wednesday night. Last season, Gronkowski rose to dominance, as he caught 90 passes for 1,327 yards and a position topping 17 touchdowns. Gronkowski won't likely be the highest ranked tight end on the list, as the Saints' Jimmy Graham has yet to appear on the countdown.
With Gronk and Welker being announced, this makes four Patriots that have made the Top 100 list. Vince Wilfork (No. 81) and Logan Mankins (No. 64) had been previously announced. Quarterback Tom Brady- who topped the 2011 list- will likely be named in the coming weeks.