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Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski collecting several midseason awards

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 [1] 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 [2] on his Midseason All-Pro Team — regarding the big fella, Jeremiah quotes one NFC exec as saying, ‘€œHe’€™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, ‘€œWhen 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. ‘€œHe’€™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 [3], right guard Dan Connolly [4], wide receiver Wes Welker [5] and running back Stevan Ridley join Jones, defensive lineman Vince Wilfork [6] and linebacker Jerod Mayo [7].

‘€¢Meanwhile, Gronkowski and Wilfork were named to the Pro Football Weekly Midseason All-Pro Team. On Gronk, PFW writes, ‘€œGronkowski 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 [8] have reemphasized the run this season and they love to run behind the strong blocking of ‘€˜Gronk.’€™’€œ When it comes to Wilfork, PFW says he’€™s been the anchor of New England’€™s run defense. ‘€œThe 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.’€