PROS: Is a good athlete with good size and speed. Gets a nice release and can challenge defenses down field. Has soft, strong hands. Has good body control and attacks the ball in the air, and does a good job getting vertical to snatch ball out of the air. Secures the ball, turns upfield quicker, and is a strong runner after the catch that fights for the extra yards. Gives good effort as a blocker that does a good job blocking in space. Shows nice pop and can get position.
CONS: Needs to improve as a blocker. Blocks a bit high, needs to do a better job locking on and finishing his blocks. Not as strong a player as his size should merit. Coming off a back injury.
OVERVIEW: Gronkowski is definitely the most talented of his brothers, Dan (with Lions) and Chris (also in this year's draft). He missed all of this past season with a back injury, but indicated that if he got a good report from the doctors that he would enter the draft. And since he's in the draft, one presumes the back injury shouldn't be a major obstacle.
NFL FORECAST: Like Gresham, it's been a while since Gronkowski has seen the field. But unlike Gresham, Gronkowski is a more natural receiver that his effort is apparent when he's on the field. He's got the big, tall frame, and strong hands to be a valuable and reliable option in the passing game. He is never going to be a great blocker, but with improved technique, he can be a competent inline blocker that won't be a liability by any means. He has the potential to be an elite tight end because he's a natural playmaker and reliable option in the passing game that will be a good security blanket for a quarterback. He's the type of guy that can be a matchup nightmare and dominate defenses at the next level. The only real drawback with him is the injury concern and whether his back will be a lingering issue beyond this year.
ATL FORECAST: Gronkowski would be a great option to succeed Gonzalez. He is a similar player to Gonzalez in that he is a potentially dynamic option in the passing game, but can be underwhelming at times as a blocker. But Gronkowski should be a better blocker than Gonzalez because he's bigger. Whether he could be quite as good an option in the passing game as Gonzalez is remains to be seen, but he'd be a very good option for Ryan and with time could be just as effective as Gonzalez is. With his youth and better blocking ability, one could argue that he would actually be an upgrade over Gonzalez at this point in his career. He woudl be a Pro Bowl player and a long-time fixture in the Falcons offense.
VALUE: He's a Top 15 talent, but the team doctors will have to determine just how much of an issue his back is. If it's not a significant obstacle, then he should be a solid first round pick for some team. If the back might be an issue, then you're safer drafting him in the middle of the second round.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
BODY CONTROL: 4.5
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.