Pros: He has nice soft hands and can snatch the ball out of the air. Shows good body control and ability to adjust to the ball in the air. Secures ball before turning upfield and is a physical runner that likes to lower the shoulder on defenders. Does a nice job finding open sports in the defense, particularly when his QB begins to scramble. Does a nice job blocking on the move and on the second level. Gets good position and seals the edge well.
Cons: Needs to add strength and lacks pop as an inline blocker. Occasionally will drop some easy throws. Lacks speed and quickness to stretch defenses. Doesn't get a great release off the line.
Overview: Has potential as an inline blocker, but right now works best as an H-back. Two younger brothers, Chris and Rob, play for University of Arizona. Rob could be a Top 15 pick as a junior tight end next April. Older brother Gordie, plays first base in the Anaheim Angels farm system. He's not quite the athletic specimen that Rob is, but it's a strong gene pool.
NFL Forecast: Gronkowski has the potential to be a starter. He won't be great, but certainly can contribute in the passing game and as well as a blocker. He needs to get stronger and improve his blocking technique, but I think inside three years, he'll be a solid blocker. It's his potential in the passing game that really merits exploring. He's obviously not the athlete that his brother Rob is, but you see ﬂashes of that potential. He's probably not going to be a playmaker, but could be a guy that can consistently catch 25-35 passes a year. He won't be a great starter, but one of those players like Jay Riemersma who is productive, but under appreciated.
ATL Forecast: Gronkowski is a similar player to Peelle. But he does have a bit more upside in the passing game, although it'll be interesting to see if he can develop it. He'd be a nice option for the Falcons to stick as the third tight end for a few years and then hope he can start to pay his dividends three or so years down the road. He's not going to be a great receiver, but can become a nice safety net for Ryan, and also be able to move the chains and make some plays in the redzone. He has the potential to be a good two-way tight end.
Value: Gronkowski is a solid middle round pick. A late fourth rounder wouldn't be a reach, but I'd try to target him in the fifth.
Scouting Reports of tight ends in the 2009 NFL Draft.
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