The touchdowns record, meanwhile, seems like a foregone conclusion at this point. Given his current average of 10.8 touchdowns per season, Gronk will break the all-time record very early in his age-31 campaign (2020). It’s worth nothing, though, thatAntonio Gates (104) will likely pass Gonzalez in touchdowns if he plays beyond the 2016 season. Still, it’s hard to imagine Gronk not eventually passing Gates as well, likely sometime in 2020 or 2021.
Coloring this entire discussion is Gronkowski’s history of serious injuries. He had back surgery while at Arizona in 2009, hip and forearm injuries that caused him to miss games in 2012 (the forearm also caused missed games in 2013), another back surgery in 2013, and a torn ACL and MCL in 2013. He missed a game during the 2015 season with an injury to the same knee, and he’s mixed in several ankle sprains during his time in the league as well. All of these injuries could make him susceptible to having his career ended on the early side.
With or without Brady, Gronk seems incredibly likely to crack the tight end TDs mark, but he’ll need a lot of help from whoever the next guy is to pass Gonzalez in receiving yards. If he can manage to get his hands around both of those records, though, it would be very hard not to consider him the best tight end in NFL history.
Who is the Cleveland Browns’ quarterback of the future? It’s a question that has plagued the team since it re-entered the league back in 1999, and one that still has no firm answer. When you’ve had 16 different quarterbacks throw at least 100 passes for your team in 17 years, yeah, QB is still a pretty damn big question mark.
The Browns have four quarterbacks on their roster heading into the 2016 season: Josh McCown, Austin Davis, Robert Griffin III, and 2016 third-round pick Cody Kessler. Head coach Hue Jackson isn’t yet ready to commit to naming any of them the starter for the 2016 season, but the widely-held assumption is that it will be Griffin.
“If you’re playing the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl and you’ve got 26 seconds left and you’re down by four and it’s second-and-goal on their 1-yard line, try not to throw an interception,” Wilson said, according to ESPN’s Sheil Kapadia. “That’s purely, purely hypothetical though, of course.”
So that’s not the worst advice ever, even if it’s applicable to zero graduates.
That’s a whole lot of talent, and it should help the Raiders make a significant improvement on defense. It just might not happen all at once.
“You want it to happen right away, but we have to know that coming together takes time,” Mack added. “We have the talent now, and we can disrupt the way they do and be that dominant if we max out and put it all together.”
Oakland spent the 2016 offseason making significant upgrades to its defense, though. The Raiders signed Bruce Irvin away from the Seahawks to rush the passer opposite Mack. They added former Chiefs corner Sean Smith and former Bengalssafety Reggie Nelson in free agency, then drafted West Virginia’s Karl Joseph, arguably the draft’s hardest hitter, with their first-round pick.
Will the Oakland defense be better? Most likely. Will it be as good as the 2015 Broncos? Probably not. But it’s always good to aim high.