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BOSTON (CBS) — The value of Rob Gronkowski and Wes Welker to the Patriots is no mystery to football fans in New England, but it looks like the rest of the league has taken notice as well.
NFL Network is once again airing “The Top 100″ this year, a list voted on by NFL players to determine who had the best season in the league. Nos. 30-21 were unveiled on Wednesday night, and they featured Welker at No. 23 and Gronkowski at No. 21.
The placement of Gronkowski was at least a little bit controversial, given that the Saints tight end Jimmy Graham has yet to be featured on the show, meaning he almost certainly ranked higher than the Patriots’ tight end. Gronkowski, however, didn’t seem too upset about his placement on the list when he was a guest on the network Wednesday night.
“It’s just an honor to be even recognized as a top 100 player. To be at No. 21 in just my second year in the league, it’s just an honor for me,” Gronkowski said.
Fellow players who spoke highly of Welker included Matt Cassel, Matt Moore, Cullen Jenkins, Vince Wilfork and even an NFL official.
“The kid never takes a play off,” Cassel said.
“It’s fun watching you play football,” the linesman was shown telling Welker during a game.
“I put him up against anyone at any level in any sport,” Wilfork said.
Welker ranked at No. 50 on the list last year. Other Patriots on the list include Vince Wilfork at No. 81 and Logan Mankins at No. 64.
Gronkowski ranked behind Graham, despite gaining 17 more yards and scoring seven more touchdowns last year. Both players had three postseason touchdowns, while Gronkowski netted 100 more receiving yards, though Gronkowski played in one more game.