Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski collecting several midseason awards
|11.08.12 at 10:28 am ET|
The Patriots have been well represented in the handful of Midseason All-Pro teams that have recently been released. We already detailed the fact that our pals at Pro Football Focus have named right tackle Sebastian Vollmer one of the best at his position over the first eight games, but here are a few others that have been announced over the last few days.
‘¢Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com put Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski on his Midseason All-Pro Team — regarding the big fella, Jeremiah quotes one NFC exec as saying, ‘He’s a beast. He’s not the greatest athlete, but his length and body control are unreal. Can’t defend him.’
‘¢Gil Brandt of NFL.com ranks the Top 20 rookies of 2012, and has defensive end Chandler Jones at No. 7 and linebacker Dont’a Hightower at No. 20. Of Jones, he writes, ‘When I put together a list of the best linemen in the NFL so far this season, Jones slotted in at No. 3 in the ‘up-and-coming’ category on the defensive side of the ball. He’s gotten stronger since his days at Syracuse; a starter from Day 1, he has six sacks, 19 pressures and three forced fumbles in eight games.’ As for Hightower, Brandt is also equally impressed. ‘He’s missed two games due to injury, but he’s collected 25 tackles and two sacks in six games; when he’s healthy, he looks like he’s going to be a dominant outside linebacker.’
‘¢ESPN has a midseason All-Pro team — which was done by John Clayton — and he has Gronkowski as his tight end. Meanwhile, James Walker, who covers the AFC East for ESPN.com, has nine Patriots on his All-Division team, including six offensive players: Vollmer, Gronkowski, quarterback Tom Brady, right guard Dan Connolly, wide receiver Wes Welker and running back Stevan Ridley join Jones, defensive lineman Vince Wilfork and linebacker Jerod Mayo.
‘¢Meanwhile, Gronkowski and Wilfork were named to the Pro Football Weekly Midseason All-Pro Team. On Gronk, PFW writes, ‘Gronkowski has been great despite a hip injury that has limited his snaps. He’s on pace for 14 touchdowns ‘ he already has scored 34 in 40 career games ‘ and don’t forget his value as a blocker. The Pats have reemphasized the run this season and they love to run behind the strong blocking of ‘Gronk.’’ When it comes to Wilfork, PFW says he’s been the anchor of New England’s run defense. ‘The Patriots’ run ‘D’ has been excellent and Wilfork is a huge reason why. He lines up in a number of different gaps as the Patriots use various fronts, and moves very well, making plays (like a huge hit on Bills WR Donald Jones in Week Four) you wouldn’t expect him to make. He has forced and recovered fumbles in key moments and is as reliable as they come.’