Rob Gronkowski retired yesterday, leaving behind all kinds of debates and questions. Was he the greatest tight end ever? Who will be the Patriots No. 1 tight end next season? How bad will his movie career be?

Others can do the best-ever debate; I'm old, but not old enough to have seen some of the old-time guys. I'm surprised to see that there are only nine tight ends in the Hall of Fame. Gronkowski will almost certainly be a first-ballot guy. Wherever you want to rank him, it's a very select group.

What we can say for sure is that he's the most productive tight end of the past decade, statistically. Since he entered the league back in 2010, only two tight ends caught more passes than he did: Jason Witten and Jimmy Graham. But Gronkowski, even with a couple of seasons largely lost due to injury, racked up more than 400 more yards than any other player.

Even more impressively, and this is what sets him apart as a fantasy tight end, Gronk was an incredible scorer. His 80 TDs over the past nine years is 9 more than Graham in that time frame, 23 more than Antonio Gates, and roughly twice as many as every other tight end. Talk about a difference-maker.

Rob Gronkowski521786180
Jimmy Graham611743671
Antonio Gates476561857
Greg Olsen513627042
Jason Witten629648341
Kyle Rudolph386378741
Vernon Davis392534240
Julius Thomas226240636
Travis Kelce410523633
Delanie Walker429508133
Zach Ertz437482729
Jermaine Gresham377375229
Tony Gonzalez326332029
Martellus Bennett398413126
Marcedes Lewis255301726
Eric Ebron252282026
Anthony Fasano206221626
Jared Cook416539025
Benjamin Watson363378324
Charles Clay339363124
Jordan Reed329337124
Coby Fleener255308023
Cameron Brate159184523
Brent Celek279353121
Owen Daniels272316021
Scott Chandler205237921
Tyler Eifert142171621
Dwayne Allen139156420
Lance Kendricks241250519
Heath Miller348384818
Aaron Hernandez175195618
Joel Dreessen112127416
Brandon Pettigrew271261915
Ed Dickson190212815
Jacob Tamme253252314
Jordan Cameron173204614
Jermichael Finley162203514
Gary Barnidge166201614
Jack Doyle200172814

As for who will replace him, there was a story over the weekend that New England pushed to sign Jared Cook (who, incidentally, has not officially put ink to paper for the Saints....hmmm). Cook in New England would be about as intriguing as Cook in New Orleans, arguably more so.

Regardless, I don't think the team's No. 1 tight end next year is currently on their roster. (Tight ends on the roster: Stephen Anderson, Jacob Hollister, Ryan Izzo and Matt LaCosse.) Good thing the NFL Draft is well stocked with talented young tight ends, highlighted by Noah Fant, T.J. Hockenson and Irv Smith Jr. -- son of the former Saint star. New England is stocked with early picks, including a first-rounder, two second-rounders and three third-rounders. If they want to select one of those top guys, they have more than enough ammunition to go get him.

Gronk is gone, but New England might have a top-10 fantasy tight end next year anyway.

EDIT: Since some asked, here are the per-game numbers for tight ends over the span shown above, 2010-2018. I cropped the list at tight ends who'd appeared in at least 40 games.

Rob Gronkowski1134.669.5.71
Travis Kelce795.266.2.43
Jimmy Graham1284.757.2.55
Zach Ertz904.853.4.32
Jordan Reed625.152.7.37
Jason Witten1284.950.6.32
Greg Olsen1284.049.0.33
Delanie Walker924.148.4.33
Martellus Bennett844.144.5.32
Antonio Gates1273.744.2.45
Jared Cook1223.342.8.21
Heath Miller903.942.8.21
Owen Daniels733.642.2.26
Vernon Davis1153.040.8.34
Tyler Eifert423.440.6.50
Jordan Cameron443.340.6.30
Jacob Tamme554.040.6.18
Julius Thomas613.739.4.59
Eric Ebron723.539.1.36
Dennis Pitta554.138.1.24
Charles Clay843.637.9.23
Cameron Brate403.137.1.48
Benjamin Watson933.536.8.22
Brandon Myers423.536.7.19
Coby Fleener803.136.5.30
Scott Chandler633.035.4.30
Kyle Rudolph1113.534.1.37
Brandon Pettigrew783.533.6.19
Vance McDonald442.533.4.27
Jermaine Gresham1183.131.0.25
Brent Celek1102.430.9.18
Marcedes Lewis962.529.1.27
Zach Miller712.628.4.21
Dwayne Allen592.124.6.33
Ryan Griffin622.223.8.10
Jesse James492.323.7.16
Anthony Fasano862.223.6.27
Mychal Rivera612.423.2.16
Richard Rodgers492.322.3.25
Garrett Celek431.620.3.23
Lance Kendricks1132.020.0.16
Jeff Cumberland481.419.9.19
Virgil Green481.214.5.08
Levine Toilolo631.214.1.11
Josh Hill411.111.2.07
Kellen Davis421.010.8.19

--Andy Richardson