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New England Patriots 2017 roster breakdown: #47 FB Glenn Gronkowski

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Rob Gronkowski's younger brother is a longshot to make the Patriots' roster.

With opening day still three months away and the mandatory portion of the initial wave of offseason workouts over, we have entered the more quiet parts of the NFL offseason. However, while the football world seemingly turns slower these days it does not stop.

During workouts and studying sessions, players still have a chance to lay the foundation for their spots on the team. Over the course of the next few months, we will take a look at the men fighting for them on the 2017 New England Patriots. 53 of currently 90 players will be asked to help the team defend its Super Bowl title.

Today, we will continue the series with New England’s second fullback.

Name: Glenn Gronkowski

Position: Fullback

Jersey number: 47

Opening day age: 24

Experience: 1

Size: 6’3, 235 lbs.

2016 review: After going unselected in the 2016 draft, fullback Glenn Gronkowski was signed as a free agent by the Buffalo Bills. Over the course of his first NFL offseason, the Kansas State product was able to earn a spot on Buffalo's initial 53-man roster. He was active on opening day, playing eight offensive snaps as a lead-blocker, but was released the next day.

Gronkowski remained unsigned for the next two weeks until the Patriots brought him on board in early October. He would go on to spend the majority of the remaining 2016 regular season and playoffs on New England's practice squad. While he was released off the practice squad three different times, Gronkowski was re-signed every single time and ultimately received a one-year futures contract following the Super Bowl.

While he did not see any game action after week one, Gronkowski was prominently featured on the Patriots' "practice players of the week"-lists: He earned the honor a total of four times, tied for fifth-most over the course of the season.

2017 preview: After the Super Bowl, the Patriots re-signed fullback James Develin to a two-year contract. This transaction directly influences Glenn Gronkowski's prospects of making the team's 53-man roster: As long as Develin is around, it would be a surprise to see Gronkowski play anything else than second fiddle.

As a result, the 24-year old will have to take a backseat when it comes to practice and preseason playing time. And while Gronkowski could make a second-year jump, he likely will not be able to unseat Develin as the Patriots' reigning fullback. And with New England not carrying two fullbacks on their roster, Rob Gronkowski's little brother might find himself among those release when cut downs come around.

However, that does not mean that Gronkowski offers no value to the Patriots. As one of only two fullbacks currently under contract with the team, he is the top choice in case Develin suffered an injury. Therefore, keeping him around appears to be in the team's best interest: The practice squad does therefore seem like a logical destination for Gronkowski yet again.