6 Reasons Rob Gronkowski Is More Important Than Aaron Hernandez

Jonathan IrwinContributor IIOctober 10, 2012

6 Reasons Rob Gronkowski Is More Important Than Aaron Hernandez

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    Never before have the New England Patriots had a more dynamic duo of tight ends than they do now.

    Rob Gronkowski.

    Aaron Hernandez.

    Both players have been absolute beasts in the NFL, and are a huge part of the Patriots' offense. But while both are vital members of the system, it's hard to deny that Gronkowski is much more important.

    Here are some reasons Gronk is miles above his fellow tight end.

Size

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    There's no denying that both these guys are giants.

    Gronk stands 6'6" and weighs in at 265-pounds, while Hernandez is an equally massive 6'1" and 254-pounds. While both men are huge, Gronkowski is a tad bigger.

    That added size makes Gronk all the more dangerous, whether it's going vertical to catch a pass or bowling over a defender downfield.

Redzone Efficiency

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    Rob Gronkowski is much more dangerous in the red zone than Aaron Hernandez.

    Gronkowski has 30 touchdown receptions in his career, which is more than double that of Hernandez's 14. Gronk also possesses the single season record for touchdowns by a tight end, set at 17 in 2011.

    With his vertical prowess and soft hands, Gronkowski is the perfect red zone weapon. It makes him all the more valuable in that Patriot's offense.

Health

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    One defining factor between these two players is their ability to stay on the field.

    Gronkowski has possessed the good fortune to remain healthy, never missing a game. Meanwhile, Hernandez has struggled to remain on the field, never once playing a full season.

    The trend has continued in 2012, with Hernandez already having missed three games with an ankle injury. Until he can stay healthy, he'll never match Gronk's production.

The Hands

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    With their overwhelming size, both tight ends are great at making catches, but no doubt Gronk has the softer hands.

    In their careers, Hernandez has 130 catches while Gronkowski has 155.

    When it comes to Gronk, you get the feeling that he can catch just about anything, which makes him one of Tom Brady's favorite targets.

Yards After Catch

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    One thing that makes Gronkowski so dangerous is his ability stay on his feet after catching the ball.

    While Hernandez has the career advantage in yards after catch, Gronk's been much better over the last two seasons.

    Since 2011, Gronkowski is averaging 6.35 YAC, compared to Hernandez who is averaging just 5.65 yards after catch.

    Gronk never gives up, always pushing for that last inch. It's that delicate balance of agility and aggressiveness that makes him so good.

Swagger

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    Both players have had their fair share of colorful events—either before or during their tenure with the Patriots.

    But no matter what they've done off the field, both men are all business on the field. Of course, Gronkowski has always been the more animated of the two.

    Whether it's laying out a big block, or spiking the ball after a touchdown, Gronk has that on field swagger that elevates his game to a new level.

    As long as he has that great on field attitude, Gronkowski will never stop working to be the best there is.