New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has caught 65 touchdowns in his career, third all time for a player in his first six seasons, behind two guys named Jerry Rice and Randy Moss. Throw in playoff games, including the Patriots' Super Bowl XLIX win over the Seattle Seahawks, and Gronk's touchdown receptions climb to 74. This guy is a super freak, a massive tight end (6-6, 265) with a skill set that really has no historical comparison.
But what are Gronk's 10 best TD catches? With the TE ranked No. 3 overall in ESPN's #NFLRank, I decided to go back and watch all 74 of them -- the seam routes, the goal-line matchups, the underneath throws where Gronk powered through tackles -- to determine the top 10.
Here's my ranking, starting with No. 10:
10. Jets at Patriots, 2012
Find the corner of the end zone
The 7-route (or corner) is one of the top concepts in Gronk's tool box, because he can create separation at the break point and use his size to shield the defender from the ball on an outside cut. In this matchup from 2012 against Rex Ryan's Jets, Gronk beat the scheme to make a sweet grab in the corner of the end zone.
Ryan gets it with Gronk. He's not going to give this dude a clean release on every snap. And that's why the Jets used an underneath defender to jam Gronk off the ball, with safety LaRon Landry picking up the coverage over the top.
But even with the Jets disrupting Gronk's release, he gets up on the cushion of Landry and is now in the proper position to win. Gronk separates at the top of the route and heads to the corner of the end zone. The ball from QB Tom Brady? It's a dime, thrown to a tight window toward the back pylon. And Gronk lays out to haul this one in. Forget about it. The scheme won't help you here, Rex.