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Patriots rookie report: Week 17

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Recent posts by Kevin Fishbain

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Posted Jan. 04, 2011 @ 8:46 p.m. ET
By Kevin Fishbain

Here's a look at how the Patriots' first-year players fared in the season finale.

CB Devin McCourty (first round): With his interception in the first half, McCourty secured the overall rookie lead with seven picks in his first season. On a ball thrown behind Brandon Marshall, McCourty, who had good position on the play, picked off the pass. The Pro Bowl corner will likely finish second to Ndamukong Suh in Defensive Rookie of the Year voting.

TE Rob Gronkowski (second round): Gronkowski was in on more offensive snaps this season than every offensive skill player not named Tom Brady. He also played many snaps on Sunday with veterans resting, and he finished 6-102-1, catching his 10th touchdown. That is a Patriots rookie record, and he finished second among rooks in touchdown catches.

OLB Jermaine Cunningham (second round): Cunningham was a sub on Sunday after missing Week 16 with a calf injury. He did not record a tackle.

ILB Brandon Spikes (second round): Spikes served the fourth game of his four-game suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.

WR Taylor Price (third round): In his first game in the NFL after being inactive the first 16 weeks of the season, Price made a pretty good first impression, catching three balls for 41 yards, showing good hands and solid speed after the catch. Expect him to challenge for more playing time in 2011.

TE Aaron Hernandez (fourth round): Hernandez sat out Sunday's season finale as he tries to get back to 100 percent following a hip injury.

P Zoltan Mesko (fifth round): Mesko made the best of his two punts, kicking one 49 yards and the other 47 yards, dropping one inside the 20.

DE Brandon Deaderick (seventh round): Deaderick has reportedly been suspended by the Patriots for missing meetings, and it came out late Monday that he had been fined multiple times this season. He was inactive for the season finale and likely will not play again until 2011.

LB Dane Fletcher (undrafted): Getting increased playing time in the season finale, Fletcher had three tackles, a quarterback hit and a special-teams tackle.

DL Kyle Love (undrafted): Playing often at the nose in the team's base 3-4 defense, Love recorded one tackle in the season finale and got plenty of attention for playing a part on the team's kickoff coverage unit.

S Sergio Brown (undrafted): Brown played on defense and special teams but did not record a defensive stat.

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