Tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez give the Patriots two weapons that no other team can match. Even as just second year players, both have established themselves among the best receivers in the NFL.
Gronkowski finished the regular season with 90 receptions for 1,327 yards and 17 touchdowns. He ranked sixth overall in receiving yardage and led the league in receiving touchdowns.
Hernandez grabbed 79 catches for 910 yards and seven touchdowns, finishing fourth in receiving yardage among tight ends and 31st overall.
Though both are excellent at stretching the defense down the seam, the Pats tight ends do most of their damage running after the catch. Both rank in the top 10 in the NFL in yards after the catch. Combined, the two tight ends have rumbled for a total of 1,175 additional yards.
It's no surprise that defensive backs aren't in a hurry to bring either player down. Hernandez and Gronkowski weigh in at 245 and 265 pounds, respectively.
Yet, for all of their game-breaking abilities, Gronkowski and Hernandez still have the reliability you'd expect from tight ends. Both catch at least 70 percent of the balls thrown their way.