April 23 will forever be a special day in the history of the New England Patriots franchise.
It was on this day in 2010 that the New England Patriots made a trade with the Oakland Raiders to leap over the rival Baltimore Ravens in the second round. The Patriots then used their new second-round pick to take a chance on Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Gronkowski was a first-round talent but concerns about his back and overall durability contributed to him falling to Day 2 of the draft. New England's risk ultimately was rewarded. Gronkowski went on to become the most dominant (and perhaps the best ever) tight end in NFL history and played a part in three Super Bowl championships for the Pats. He's a likely first-ballot Hall of Famer after retiring in March after nine pro seasons.
Here's a recap of the trade the Patriots completed to take Gronk.
Patriots receive: No. 42 pick
Raiders receive: Nos. 44 and 190
Here's a look at Gronkowski celebrating with his family after being selected by the Patriots.
— NFL (@NFL) April 22, 2019
The Patriots were worried the Ravens were going to take Gronkowski at No. 43. The Ravens needed a replacement for veteran tight end Todd Heap, and Gronkowski was easily the best tight end available at that point in Round 2.
Baltimore ended up taking Texas linebacker Sergio Kindle. He played in just three NFL games. The Ravens chose tight end Dennis Pitta in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, but he played in just 66 games over six seasons.
It's fun to wonder what would have happened to the Patriots-Ravens rivalry if New England didn't trade up and Baltimore selected Gronk. The Ravens lost to the Patriots in the 2011 AFC Championship Game and 2014 AFC Divisional Round. Baltimore beat New England in the 2012 AFC Championship Game en route to a Super Bowl XLVII title.
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