Aaron Hernandez is already one of the best tight ends in football. The fact that he is sure to get better in 2012 is a scary thought for the other 31 NFL teams.
Hernandez started the season off red-hot, grabbing 14 passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns in the New England Patriots' first two games this year.
However, like last season, an injury slowed the University of Florida product. He missed a couple games, and then struggled for a few weeks dealing with the lingering effects of his knee injury.
Once December came around, though, Hernandez emerged as Tom Brady's favorite target.
With opposing defenses focusing all their efforts on attempting to stop Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski, Hernandez was largely left in single coverage over the last couple months of the season.
He took advantage, grabbing 51 catches from December through the Super Bowl for 618 yards and four touchdowns.
Hernandez displayed ridiculous versatility when he lined up as New England's running back for an entire series against the Denver Broncos in the AFC Divisional Round, a trait that surely earned him some brownie points with head coach Bill Belichick.
As great as Gronk was in 2011 and he was phenomenal, Hernandez was right on his tail. With a full season of games, there is no reason to think that Hernandez can't catch 90 passes for 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns.
With Hernandez, Gronk, Welker and whomever comes in through free agency or the draft, Brady should put up spectacular numbers in the passing game yet again in 2012.