Starters -- Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez.
Backups -- Daniel Fells, Jake Ballard, Tyler Urban.
their third year together, Gronkowski and Hernandez form arguably the
best tight-end duo in football.
Gronkowski is the true, traditional
tight end coming off the greatest statistical season in the history of
the NFL at the position. Though rehab from ankle surgery has limited
his offseason a bit, he's expected to be at full health for the regular
season. His numbers may come down a bit from his 90 catches for 1,327
yards and 17 touchdowns a year ago as defenses focus more on Brady's
huge target, but Gronkowski will remain a key figure of the passing
Hernandez is really almost a slot receiver for the Patriots and
could be even better this fall after catching 79 passes for 910 yards
and seven touchdowns despite missing two-plus games in 2011. As
defenses focus on Gronkowski and some of the other options in the
passing attack like Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd, Hernandez could find
even more space to work. If he can stay healthy and cut down on his
drops, he could put up huge numbers this fall.
Ballard was claimed,
somewhat controversially, off waivers from the Giants. He's recovering
from ACL and microfracture surgery, after suffering the knee injury
against the Patriots in the Super Bowl. He'll miss all of 2012 on
physically unable to perform, but will be in the mix a year from now.
[Editor's Note: This was written prior to the
addition of TE Visanthe Shiancoe]
Training Camp Preview: Tight Ends
Patriots Insider Top Stories
Scouting Report: Jimmy GaroppoloNFL Media's Bucky Brooks breaks down the strengths of Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo and how well he will play during the first four games of the season.
All Eyes on Jimmy GaroppoloTom Brady has decided to continue no longer in his legal battle, meaning that Jimmy Garoppolo is slated to start the first four games of the season. Here's what to expect from the…
Ian Rapoport: Brady Eligible For PreseasonNFL Media's Charley Casserly and NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport has the latest on New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's 4-game suspension.
Full Timeline of Brady's Legal ProceedingsNFL Media's Judy Battista narrates the full timeline of Tom Brady's legal proceedings following the 2014 AFC Championship game.
Judy Battista: Brady Is Not Admitting GuiltNFL Media's Judy Battista reports that although New England Patriots QB Tom Brady is standing down, he is not admitting any guilt.