Patriots Pro Bowlers: Why these seven players made the roster

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6. Rob Gronkowski

Gronk made the Pro Bowl on account of being the best tight end in football. His 11 Gronk spikes rank fifth among all pass catchers, and second only to Tyler Eifert in the tight end category. However, he’s got all tight ends beat with a yards per catch average of 16.2. Contributing to that impressive figure was Gronkowski’s 76-yard catch and run against the New York Giants, the longest touchdown of his six-year career.

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The J.J. Watt equivalent on offense, Gronkowski is the reason that defensive coordinators don’t get much sleep the night before playing the Patriots. You can respect Gronkowski by double-teaming him, but that opens up opportunities for other players in the Patriots’ passing game; you can plug your safety on him, but it’s more likely than not that Gronk will prevail in a one-on-one matchup.

Just like Brady, Gronk doesn’t care much about the Pro Bowl. He’s more interested in corralling another ring now that he’s got a taste of winning it all.

Next: 5. Malcolm Butler