The top Patriot and best player on the field during the Patriots 28-21 Week 1 victory was Rob Gronkowski. “Gronk” caught five passes for 94 yards and three touchdowns. Once again, he was simply unstoppable in the red zone. It’s clear that the Patriots opponents are keying on Gronkowski when the Patriots have key third down plays and get near the end zone, but they simply cannot stop it. He’s a physical presence unlike any other in the NFL. His game continues to improve to the point where he’s now being considered to be one of the top players in the NFL. Normally, when the debate about top NFL players comes up, it’s centered around quarterbacks. There have been times where running backs have been discussed including Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles in their peak years. Calvin Johnson also has some consideration in his prime. As recently as last year, J.J Watt has been put into the discussion as he has dominated the game from the line of scrimmage on the defensive side of the ball. We’re now starting to hear Gronk’s name come up in this debate.
Let’s consider the quarterback position. Many fans in New England would put Brady at the top of this list without any debate. It’s a homer type mentality. You could certainly argue that Brady is the best, but it’s at least debatable. The reality is that Aaron Rodgers has passed him as the league’s top QB. He actually passed him a few years ago. Andrew Luck is now in the discussion. Peyton Manning is slowly moving off of the list.
The same is true for the running back and wide receiver positions. At RB, you could make a case for Le’Veon Bell, Peterson, or Charles. At receiver, there’s Antonio Brown, Dez Bryant, and Julio Jones. There is no clear cut best player at any of these positions. It makes it great for arguments sake, but it does not give us a definitive best player t the position.
Here’s the position there is a clear cut best player: Tight End. It’s Gronkowski and there isn’t a close second. Jimmy Graham is no longer in the discussion. Gronk dominates the game in the passing game and he’s also an excellent run blocker.
Here are some numbers to justify Gronkowski’s greatness.
1. Gronkowski has 57 touchdowns in 66 career games. That’s an average of 0.86 TD’s a game. This is an astounding number as it comes out to an average of 14 TD’s over an average 16 game season. To put this in perspective, the best receiver in the history of football, Jerry Rice, averaged 0.65 TD’s per game.
2. With 57 TD’s, Gronk currently ranking 16th amongst NFL players in TD receptions. Gronk started in 2010. None of the players above him on this list started after 2006. They have at least a five year lead!
3. The Patriots have not lost a playoff game since 2010 with a healthy Rob Gronkowski. Gronkowski played hurt and was ineffective in the last Super Bowl against the Giants. When Gronk is healthy, the Patriots are a different team.
So, there you have it. Rob Gronkowski is putting up historic TD numbers and his team wins with him in the lineup. He is not only the best player on the Patriots, but he is the most dominant offensive player in the NFL. He dominates the game in multiple ways. When the Patriots get near the goal line, it’s like watching Shaq around the hoop in his prime. Even a hard foul isn’t stopping him from scoring.
So, who’s the best player in the league? It’s Gronkowski on offense and Watt on defense. Take your pick…