We're a little late on this, but the folks at Pro Football Focus announced their All-Pro teams this month, with four Patriots players receiving recognition.
(Quotes are from PFF explaining their reasoning for each choice)
Rob Gronkowski (first-team): "The Patriot it, by some measure, the best tight end in the NFL."
Sebastian Vollmer (second-team): There was a lot of discussion between Vollmer and the 49ers' Anthony Davis, with "the work of Vollmer in pass protection getting him the selection."
Jerod Mayo (first-team): "In the past we've shouted from the rooftops how overrated Mayo has been. However, he's taken a big step forward this year with some strikingly consistent play."
Devin McCourty (second-team): "He was good at cornerback and then he was good at safety. We had to find space for him and this was the most logical position."
PFF makes its picks by in part using its statistical analysis and comparisons of players during the season as well as simple discussion.
These picks are different than the Associated Press All-Pro teams, which is voted on by a panel of 50 media members. Vince Wilfork was selected to the first-team as a defensive tackle, and Logan Mankins was a second-team pick at guard; Gronkowski, likely because he missed a third of the season, was third at tight end.