Julian Edelman – 2013, 2016, 2019
The New England Patriots took a gamble and drafted Julian Edelman as a receiver — who all we knew of at the time as a young and versatile quarterback from Kent State — in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL Draft.
Edelman — who started his career on special teams — quickly carved out a role for himself, and has since become the team’s workhorse. He has regularly gone above and beyond for the Patriots throughout his career, including even playing defense during the early years of the new decade.
It wasn’t until 2013 that Edelman became a true weapon to Tom Brady and upgraded the total offense in the process.
Edelman has three 1,000 yard seasons so far in his career: 2013 (1,056 yards), 2016 (1,106 yards), and 2019 (1,117 yards). He also has two seasons of catching 100 passes (2013 & 2019), and almost had his third in 2016 when he reeled in 98 passes.
Edelman has totaled 599 receptions averaging 10.9 yards per catch for 6,507 yards and has scored 36 touchdowns throughout his career thus far.
In Patriots franchise history, Edelman ranks second all-time in receptions, fourth all-time in receiving yards, and ninth all-time in receiving touchdowns. He also has scored four touchdowns off of punt returns, which is the most in franchise history.
Edelman ranks second in NFL history with the most receptions in the playoffs (118) behind Jerry Rice. He is also a three-time Super Bowl champion and a Super Bowl MVP.
Rob Gronkowski – 2011, 2014, 2015, 2017
The dynamic of New England’s franchise changed forever when they drafted Rob Gronkowski in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
Gronkowski upgraded the tight end position — not just for the Patriots, but for the entire NFL as well. In doing so, Gronk became a four-time First-Team All-Pro and made the Pro Bowl five times in his nine-year career with the Patriots.
Tom Brady and Gronkowski immediately were on the same page and connected on 79 touchdowns, which is the second-most in Patriots franchise history. Gronk also ranks second in franchise history in receiving yards (7,861) and fifth in receptions (521).
In his time with the Patriots, Gronkowski has four 1,000 yard seasons in his career: 2011 (1,327 yards), 2014 (1,124 yards), 2015 (1,176 yards), and 2017 (1,084 yards).
Gronk became a three-time Super Bowl champion and arguably the best tight end in NFL history.