Is Rob Gronkowski The Next Great Patriots Tight End?

Was that Ben Coates or Rob Gronkowski out there? The Patriots rookie -- who even wears No. 87 -- sure looked like the next great Patriots tight end Thursday night. The 6-foot-6, 266-pounder out of Arizona hauled in a pair of touchdown receptions against the Rams, the first of which would've made Earl Campbell proud. The Globe's Monique Walker was there:

On a second-and-6 play from the Rams' 14, Gronkowski secured a short pass from Tom Brady and turned toward the end zone. [James] Laurinaitis fell to Gronkowski's feet as Gronkowski dragged the linebacker 2 yards before he could stretch his 6-foot-6-inch body toward the goal line.

Brady, who's never operated with a stellar tight end, must be pleased to have a wide target who can actually, you know, catch. (Imagine if Drew Bledsoe didn't have Coates in the 1990s. Yikes.) Gronkowski, one of New England's three second-round picks in April's NFL Draft, doesn't seem hampered by a back injury that sidelined him in 2009. (He and backup quarterback Brian Hoyer also hooked up for a 24-yard TD against Atlanta last week.)

Gronkowski is making me look bad. I thought I made a shrewd move in my fantasy auction draft, snagging fellow Pats rookie tight end Aaron Hernandez -- who scored against the Falcons last week but didn't play against St. Louis -- for $1. I probably picked the wrong guy.

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