Rob Gronkowski No. 21 on NFL Top 100

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Rob Gronkowski No. 21 on NFL Top 100

As NFL Network continues ticking down on its list of Top 100 Players of 2012, another Patriot is named.

Rob Gronkowski is ranked at 21.

The record-breaking Patriots tight end did a remote interview with a quartet of NFL Total Access analysts: Kurt Warner, Steve Mariucci, Warren Sapp, and Heath Evans.

On being the No. 2 tight end on the countdown:
First off, it's just an honor to be even recognized as a Top 100 player. To be at 21, just my second year in the league it's just an honor for me. Got to stay humble, and just got to keep grinding every single day and every single year. Just keep working hard.

Warner asks what it is about the Patriots system that fosters success:
Just everyone around you. Everyone's in, all for each other. Having a great supporting cast around me from the coaches to the players. Everyone has one goal, and it's to win. No matter how you can get it done If it's one of the wide receivers having 14 catches a game, three touchdowns. Or if it's a running back having a good game, or if it's one of us tight ends having a good game. We're all in it for each other, we're all there to support each other and that's all everyone wants to do -- we just play together as a team to get that victory.

Mariucci inquires into Gronkowski's offseason goals:
Just to improve my game every single game. First off, getting in the playbook, learning the offense; you can never not know the offense 100-percent. Just always learning more and more every time you step out on the field. And also, just using every single aspect of the game, from blocking and pass catching-wise -- just focusing and getting better in every single thing. Taking my weaknesses and making them stronger and taking my strengths and making them better. Just working on every single aspect of my game so that when training camp comes rolling into the season, I'm ready, strong and ready to roll.

What's your favorite route, Sapp asks:
My favorite route is definitely the flag route. I just love giving the little shake at the top, at 10-12 yards and bursting out over in the corner. I mean, I'm most comfortable running that route and it's always been my favorite -- ever since high school.

Evans knows all about Bill Belichick's weekly Q&A sessions, but enlighten the fans:
You've just got to be ready for anything, at any time, any type of questions. You just always want to be prepared. You want to know your plays, you want to know your opponents, you want to be studying up on film. Whenever it comes down to a question, your heart is just you're feeling it. You just want to get that question right, whatever it is. It just keeps you on your toes at all times to make sure you're mentally prepared coming in every single week, which is great.

Owen Daniels said Gronkowski is the TE all TEs are measured by. Who do you measure YOURSELF by?
That's an honor that he even said that, Owen Daniels I've actually been looking up to him when I was in college watching him play and everything. That's just an honor to be mentioned like that from other players. My favorite players were Tony Gonzalez, Jason Witten, Antonio Gates just growing up in high school and college watching all them. I still compare myself to them, I still watch their film all the time. I still try to take tips from their game and add it to my game.

And just right now, Jimmy Graham, he's in the same class as me. He's a great player. He's a great tight end. I'm always looking at his game, too. Trying to figure out what he's doing because he's having so much success down there in New Orleans.

So much respect for all the other tight ends out there.

Mayock: If I'm Cleveland, I'd be 'stoked' to land Garoppolo for No. 12 pick

Mayock: If I'm Cleveland, I'd be 'stoked' to land Garoppolo for No. 12 pick

NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock quarterbacked a marathon conference call with reporters from around the country on Monday in order to shed some light on the prospects who will compete at the combine later this week. One thing that stood out? He's not ready to crown anyone in this year's crop of draftable signal-callers.

As a result of the dearth of pro-ready talent at quarterback, Mayock recognized Patriots backup Jimmy Garoppolo as perhaps the top target for any quarterback-needy team. Garoppolo might interest the Cleveland Browns in particular, Mayock noted, because of the number of picks they have near the top of the draft.

"In my opinion," Mayock said, "if I'm the Cleveland Browns and I've got No. 1 and No. 12, if I came away with either [defensive end Myles] Garrett or [defensive tackle] Jonathan Allen at No. 1, and gave up the 12th pick in the draft to get Garoppolo? I would be stoked.

"I would feel like I had a difference-maker on defense and we had a quarterback on offense. Now let's get to work. We got five in the first 65 picks. Let's get to work. From my perspective, especially looking at the quarterbacks this year, if they gave up No. 12 and could get Garoppolo, I'd be all over that."

Patriots promote coaching assistant Nick Caley to tight ends coach

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Patriots promote coaching assistant Nick Caley to tight ends coach

As the Patriots so often like to do, they promoted from within to fill an open coaching position on Monday. 

The team announced that they've named Nick Caley as their tight ends coach, filling the vacancy left behind when Brian Daboll accepted the offensive coordinator position at the University of Alabama last week. 

Caley was a coaching assistant with the Patriots for the past two seasons after spending a decade in the college ranks at John Carroll (2005-06), Akron (2006-07), Auburn (2008), Iowa State (2009-11), Eastern Illinois (2012), Arkansas (2013) and Florida Atlantic (2014).

Caley is one of several John Carroll products -- including director of player personnel Nick Caserio, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and assistant quarterbacks coach Jerry Shuplinski -- working for the Patriots at the moment. He graduated from the Jesuit university situated just outside of Cleveland in 2006.