PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 27: (L-R) Rob Gronkowski #87 and Aaron Hernandez #81 of the New England Patriots react after Gronkowski caught a 24-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on November 27, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
As part of a continuing series over at the mothership, SB Nation's Ryan Van Bibber is ranking what each NFL team has to offer at each position.
On Thursday, he turned his attention to the tight ends--ranking the New England Patriots' tight end corps the best in the NFL. He explains (with a humorous twist)
"Bro, you're like, totally the top tight end in the NFL!"
"So rad. Shirts off, high five, bro!"
I somehow doubt Rob Gronkowski gets "so stoked" about our tight end rankings, because he already knows, bro. Whatever your personal feelings on the Summer of Gronk, the pairing of the world's ultimate bro and Aaron Hernandez makes it easy to put the Patriots on top of this list. The addition of bit players like Jake Ballard and Daniel Fells seem excessive, but could prove important down the line.
Without out any extensive thought, I completely agree with Van Bibber on this one. Last season, Gronkowski and New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham were the obvious Top-Two tight ends in the league, but there was much debate as to who was number one. Both had seasons where they caught at least 90 passes for 1,000+ and double-digit touchdowns. In fact, the NFL Network ranked Graham over Gronk in their Top 100 players of 2011.
However, the Patriots have the edge here because they have not one, but two premier tight ends in Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. Paired with Gronk's overpowering prowess, Herndo's almost wide receiver like finesse makes the Patriots a clear number one in the tight end category. Not to mention, they have the best depth at the position with Fells and newcomer Jake Ballard in the fold.
The Patriots tight ends add a whole new dimension to their already potent offense. As long as the dynamic duo continue to perform at a level this high, we may be seeing a possible blueprint to a more modern offense.