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Thursday, May 24, 2012
Dynamic duo rates highly in NFL

By Field Yates

Rob Gronkowski's stellar 2011 season is well-documented, as he set records for the most receiving yards (1,327) and touchdowns (17) by a tight end in a single season.

But not to be overlooked were the contributions of fellow tight end Aaron Hernandez, who contributed 79 receptions for 910 yards and seven touchdowns.

Together, they formed a nearly un-coverable duo, and few would question that they are the top young tight end tandem in all of football.

In a recent piece on NFL.com, analyst Daniel Jeremiah presents his top offensive and defensives duos in all of football, and it comes as no surprise that Gronkowski and Hernandez check in as one of his five offensive pairings.

After being picked 71 selections apart in the 2010 draft, the tight ends have evolved into primary targets for Tom Brady.

Nominally, the two play the same role in the Patriots offense, but they each present a unique skill set that is tough for opponents to defend. Gronkowski is regarded as the superior blocker, but Hernandez’s ability to move around the formation (he even aligned as a running back in 2011) generates mismatch issues for opposing defenses.

Each player has two years left on his respective rookie contract, and soon enough, one of the big challenges for the Patriots will be extensions that keep them here for the long-term.