Patriots: 5 best rookie seasons in recent Pats history

Dont'a Hightower and Devin McCourty. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Dont'a Hightower and Devin McCourty. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
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Rob Gronkowski
Rob Gronkowski. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

1. Rob Gronkowski, 2010

The 6-foot-6 tight end from Arizona didn’t ruffle too many feathers in the New England office when they picked him in the second round, but then again, how could anybody have known? How could anybody have predicted the Patriots were assembling one of the most dangerous duos, the perfect match made in New England heaven?

Belichick only had tame things to say about him in the draft:

"“So Rob Gronkowski, certainly an interesting player. Excellent size, very well thought of down there by Coach [Mike] Stoops and his staff. I think as we saw there, in New York, he’s kind of a fun-loving guy who enjoys having a good time, but he plays like that, too. He plays with a good attitude. He’s aggressive.”"

In his first season, the “fun-loving guy” played in all 16 games, catching 42 balls for 546 yards while scoring 10 touchdowns, a franchise record for rookie tight ends. And that’s not the only record he broke. In a victory against the Steelers, Gronkowski caught three touchdown passes from Brady, becoming the first rookie in New England history and the youngest rookie in NFL history to do so.

In the playoffs, Gronkowski made his postseason debut against the Jets, and despite the upset, he recorded four receptions for 65 receiving yards in the Divisional Round.

The then 21-year-old was barely of age to drink, much less catch pass after pass from MVP Tom Brady. Gronk and Brady’s chemistry blossomed ever since they first shared the field, and the rest is history.

Next. Mac Jones’ dedication is already looking Tom Brady-esque. dark