New England Patriots: Rob Gronkowski named best big slot receiver

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 04: Rob Gronkowski /

Pro Football Focus recently named the best receiver for each alignment. For the New England Patriots, Rob Gronkowski made the list.

The New England Patriots have one of the most dynamic players in the NFL in tight end Rob Gronkowski. As the best tight end in the NFL, Gronkowski can do it all. As both a blocker and a receiver, Gronkowski is able to do both at an elite level.

While there was some question about whether or not Gronkowski would be back this season, he is still with the team. This offseason there were some rumblings about Gronkowski possibly considering retirement and also rumors about the Patriots considering trading him.

As we head toward July, Gronkowski was not traded and that likely won’t be happening at this point. While Gronkowski might like to get some more money this season, he hasn’t talked about a holdout, and also showed up for minicamp.

One of the things that makes Gronkowski so great is his ability to do damage as a receiver. Recently, Pro Football Focus named the best receiver for each alignment. As a big slot receiver, Gronkowski took the top spot. Here’s what they had to say about Gronkowski in the slot.

"53.5 percent of his routes a season ago came lined up in the slot and he averaged 2.32 yards per route on those. Only one other tight end – Travis Kelce – averaged over 2.00 yards per route from the slot all season. You’d have to go back to 2012 to find a season in which Gronk didn’t accomplish that feat. That sort of consistency is why he’s the prototype for the position."

The statistics for Gronkowski in the slot are really impressive, as he did a lot of damage for the Patriots in that spot. With only Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs being close to Gronkowski in yards per route, it shows what type of weapon he is.

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With Julian Edelman being suspended for the first four games of the season, you can expect to see a lot of Gronkowski in the slot to start the season. Even though he doesn’t have the shifty quickness that is associated with success in the slot, Gronkowski is able to dominate. After a great season in 2017, the Patriots have to be happy that he will be back this season.