Tag:Rob Gronkowski
Posted on: November 18, 2010 12:03 am
 

Pats TE Gronkowski, Browns SS Ward Top Rookies

New England Patriots' tight end Rob Gronkowski and Cleveland Browns' strong safety T.J. Ward earned my Rookies of the Week for their big time performances in high profile matchups Sunday.

Gronkowski, whom the Patriots selected with the 42nd overall pick last April, caught five passes for 73 yards and three touchdowns to help New England beat Pittsburgh. Whereas some teams elect to use their tight ends only on short yardage plays near the end zone, the former Arizona star's first and third scores of the game came from 19 and 25 yards, respectively. His first touchdown reception of the game came from a pass from Tom Brady zipped down the seam. Gronkowski had to dive to make what was his most difficult reception of the game. In the third quarter, Gronkowski got his easiest catch, as the Steelers, guessing run, left him wide open on a quick drag to the outside. Finally, Gronkowski caught his third score of the game in the fourth quarter with Brady lofting a beautiful corner fade towards the left pylon.

Gronkowski's hat-trick made selecting the Offensive Rookie of the Week relatively easy. While there were solid performances from other rookies, including Dallas wideout Dez Bryant, Tampa running back LeGarrette Blount and Cleveland quarterback Colt McCoy (among others), Gronkowski's plays stood out.

As has been the case recently, choosing a defensive rookie of the week was tougher. Among those considered were another Patriot -- cornerback Devin McCourty -- and Dallas' cornerback Bryan McCann. However, with yet another strong performance, the Browns' Ward earned my pick.

Ward, the 38th overall pick of the 2010 draft and previously honored with this recognition after an 11 tackle and forced fumble premiere in the season opener.

Against the Jets Sunday, Ward posted eight tackles and two passes defensed. His tackle total now gives him 75 on the year -- 25 more than any other rookie at any other position thus far this season and only four behind Buffalo's Donte Whitner as the leading tackler among AFC defensive backs.
Posted on: October 14, 2010 1:49 pm
 

Notre Dame TE Kyle Rudolph to undergo surgery Fri

Notre Dame junior tight end Kyle Rudolph will undergo season-ending surgery Friday to repair his hamstring.

The surgery is a significant one. Rudolph, who had been gutting it out by playing through a pulled hamstring originally injured over the summer, had the tendons in his right leg snap, separating the muscle from the bone against Pittsburgh, Saturday.

Though only a junior, Rudolph is widely considered to be among the top eligible tight end prospect in the country. The injury and resulting surgery, however, could put a damper on any plans that the 6-6, 260 pounder had on entering the NFL draft after this season. Rudolph's rehabilitation is expected to last six months, meaning that he may not be able to fully workout for scouts prior to the draft.

As alarming as that might be for scouts, Rudolph's ability to impact the game stands out on film. It should also be noted that the two tight ends selected highest in last year's draft -- Jermaine Gresham and Rob Gronkowski -- each missed the entire 2009 season prior to being selected with the No. 21 and No. 42 overall picks of last April's draft, by the Bengals and Patriots, respectively.

Should he elect to leave school early for the draft, scouts have plenty of film on Rudolph. A standout since taking over for John Carlson (now a starter for the Seattle Seahawks), was on pace to shatter his previous career highs in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns.
Through six games this year, Rudolph had caught 28 passes for 328 yards and three touchdowns.

He has caught 90 passes for 1,032 yards and eight touchdowns for his career.


Posted on: August 30, 2010 11:25 am
 

2010 class looks worth the hype so far

We told you prior to the draft the 2010 crop of talent looked like one of the best in a long time . Once the underclassmen came on board, the class was being compared by some to the famous 1983 group that included Hall of Famers John Elway, Eric Dickerson, Bruce Mathews, Jim Kelly, Dan Marino and Darrell Green.

Comparing this class to the 1983 crew is, of course, vastly premature.
 
At least throughout the weeks of preseason, however, the class looks every bit as good as advertised.

Most years, by this time, we've already identified a half dozen or so highly drafted rookies who are struggling to acclimate to the pros. Sure, Colt McCoy isn't setting the world on fire, but we should have known to expect that a bit considering that he slipped into the 3rd round. Most of the players drafted in the first round are already establishing themselves as either immediate starters or quality backups... exactly what first-round picks are supposed to do.
Think of the top ten this year. Sam Bradford, Ndamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy, Trent Williams, Eric Berry, Russell Okung, Joe Haden, Rolando McClain, C.J. Spiller and even surprise top ten choice Tyson Alualu have shown flashes of brilliance for their respective teams, already.

The first round picks that have struggled have mostly been due to injuries. Tim Tebow, Demaryius Thomas, Derrick Morgan, etc. have reportedly looked good when practicing, but various injuries have, thus far, slowed their advancement.

Exciting middle, late round and even undrafted free agents have emerged already .

But don't just take my word for it. Check out the stats.

Rookie Anthony Dixon, San Francisco's 6th round pick and the No. 173 player taken overall leads the NFL with 220 rushing yards. 

Rookie Victor Cruz, an undrafted free agent for the Giants, leads the league with 251 receiving yards, as well as receiving touchdowns (4). The only player in the league with as many as three TDs? Another rookie. Patriots' tight end Rob Gronkowski, a second round pick taken No. 42 overall.

So, offensively the rookies are doing well. What about the defense, you ask?

Thanks for asking.

Rookie Pat Angerer, the Colts' second round pick and the No. 63 player taken overall leads the NFL with 24 tackles.

Defensive tackle Geno Atkins, a fourth round pick taken at No. 120, leads the league with 4.5 sacks.

I can hear the dispute already. Yeah, rookies see a lot of playing time, and therefore more opportunities to post numbers in the preseason.

True. But the facts remain the same.

This 2010 class of rookies has a chance to be special.

Posted on: April 23, 2010 4:16 pm
 

Five bold predictions for the second/third round

As anticipated, I hit a few and missed a few in my initial Bold Predictions for the 2010 draft. I tried to limit my predictions to the first round for that article.

Here are five bold predictions for Friday's second and third rounds.

Colt McCoy will be drafted ahead of Jimmy Clausen too.
I've spoken to a variety of league sources on Clausen and the consensus on his fall is that his personality had something to do with it, but more than anything else was the belief that he's been groomed for so long that he offers very little upside. Essentially, he's as good right now as he's ever going to be. The same can not be said for Tim Tebow and, some believe for Colt McCoy. McCoy's intangibles are so good, in fact, that some believe the Bills and Browns will enter a bidding war for the services of the former Longhorn quarterback. Rather than wait for him with their respective second round picks, one of these two clubs might trade with St. Louis for 33rd overall.

Lots of trades.
If you thought there were a lot of trades yesterday (seven), I'm told there could be considerably more today. I woke up this morning planning on writing a second round mock draft, but in contacting sources to prepare, was told to "not bother" with the working out the team-player fits because there could be "lots of action." Instead, I've been told to just stick with the best players available, as they "should go quick." There are several clubs with various picks eager to take advantage of this year's unique depth. From watching how animated Seattle head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider were yesterday in their press conference, I'd be surprised if they don't make more than just the one pick they currently have (60th overall).

Expect quite a run on wide receivers.
As most projected, there were two wide receivers drafted in the first round. However, in speaking with different teams, I've come up with 11 wideouts that have been given second round grades by at least one team. Names to keep in mind are: Golden Tate, Eric Decker, Damian Williams, Arrelious Benn, Mardy Gilyard, Carlton Mitchell, Brandon LaFell, Jordan Shipley, Taylor Price, Dexter McCluster and Marcus Easley.

Big name SEC player surprises.
A year ago Greg Hardy, Brandon Spikes, Terrence Cody and Carlos Dunlap were considered by some to be a lock for the first round. Now, there are some who believe all four will drop to Saturday's rounds 4-7. I don't see that happening. Too much good tape and/or athletic potential for these guys to slip that far. Expect to see at least two of them come off the board in the second round, and all four by the end of the night.

Rob Gronkowski ends up either in Baltimore or New England
There are some teams that rated Rob Gronkowski as the top tight end in this class. I've been told the Ravens, who have a need for the position based on the durability struggles of Todd Heap, are among them. The Patriots also have a very high grade on the former Wildcat. Gronkowski lacks Jermaine Gresham's game-speed, but is a better all-around player and a significantly better blocker.




Posted on: April 23, 2010 4:15 pm
 

Five bold predictions for the second/third round

As anticipated, I hit a few and missed a few in my initial Bold Predictions for the 2010 draft. I tried to limit my predictions to the first round for that article.

Here are five bold predictions for Friday's second and third rounds.

Colt McCoy will be drafted ahead of Jimmy Clausen too.
I've spoken to a variety of league sources on Clausen and the consensus on his fall is that his personality had something to do with it, but more than anything else was the belief that he's been groomed for so long that he offers very little upside. Essentially, he's as good right now as he's ever going to be. The same can not be said for Tim Tebow and, some believe for Colt McCoy. McCoy's intangibles are so good, in fact, that some believe the Bills and Browns will enter a bidding war for the services of the former Longhorn quarterback. Rather than wait for him with their respective second round picks, one of these two clubs might trade with St. Louis for 33rd overall.

Lots of trades.
If you thought there were a lot of trades yesterday (seven), I'm told there could be considerably more today. I woke up this morning planning on writing a second round mock draft, but in contacting sources to prepare, was told to "not bother" with the working out the team-player fits because there could be "lots of action." Instead, I've been told to just stick with the best players available, as they "should go quick." There are several clubs with various picks eager to take advantage of this year's unique depth. From watching how animated Seattle head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider were yesterday in their press conference, I'd be surprised if they don't make more than just the one pick they currently have (60th overall).

Expect quite a run on wide receivers.
As most projected, there were two wide receivers drafted in the first round. However, in speaking with different teams, I've come up with 11 wideouts that have been given second round grades by at least one team. Names to keep in mind are: Golden Tate, Eric Decker, Damian Williams, Arrelious Benn, Mardy Gilyard, Carlton Mitchell, Brandon LaFell, Jordan Shipley, Taylor Price, Dexter McCluster and Marcus Easley.

Big name SEC player surprises.
A year ago Greg Hardy, Brandon Spikes, Terrence Cody and Carlos Dunlap were considered by some to be a lock for the first round. Now, there are some who believe all four will drop to Saturday's rounds 4-7. I don't see that happening. Too much good tape and/or athletic potential for these guys to slip that far. Expect to see at least two of them come off the board in the second round, and all four by the end of the night.

Rob Gronkowski ends up either in Baltimore or New England
There are some teams that rated Rob Gronkowski as the top tight end in this class. I've been told the Ravens, who have a need for the position based on the durability struggles of Todd Heap, are among them. The Patriots also have a very high grade on the former Wildcat. Gronkowski lacks Jermaine Gresham's game-speed, but is a better all-around player and a significantly better blocker.



Posted on: March 26, 2010 12:21 pm
 

Source confirms: TE Gronkowski's back red-flagged

NFLDraftScout.com has confirmed that Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski is being red-flagged by teams due to a spinal condition.

The source, a scout with an NFL team, confirmed that his team's doctors were questioning if Gronkowski "would ever be 100%" and that his team was acknowledging the injury by lowering Gronkowski's grade. The scout declined to talk specifically of Gronkowski's condition.

NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock reported Wednesday evening that Gronkowski had spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spine. The condition is characterized by numbness in the extremities, neck and back and leg cramps and can be hereditary or caused by previous injury, surgery, abnormal bone growth or or deterioration, according to WebMD.com .

Perhaps most frightening, the condition puts the player at a higher risk for suffering paralysis.

This is the same condition which former Pro Bowl offensive tackle Chris Samuels cited as a reason for his sudden retirement from the Washington Redskins and was also believed to be the primary reason why former Auburn star Marcus McNeill, also an offensive tackle, slipped to the second round of the 2006 draft.

McNeill, who found out he had stenosis while in college, said as much in a post-draft interview.

"A lot of teams ended up passing on me because they thought my back would keep me from playing." McNeill said.

What is important to note is that McNeill played four years in college with knowledge of the injury and did not miss any time over his final two seasons with the Tigers. In four seasons with the Chargers, the Pro Bowl-alternate has started 62 of 64 regular season games.

Unlike McNeill, Gronkowski has missed significant time due to spinal issues. He missed the entire 2009 season, in fact, and underwent surgery, a microdiscectomy on his back on Sept. 24. He has unable to workout at the Combine or at Arizona's Pro Day, March 12.

Instead, he'll be working out on campus tomorrow.

Posted on: February 24, 2010 7:26 pm
 

Top 100 players with questionable medical grades

The Scouting Combine -- at least the workout portion of it -- has become the most overrated aspect of the NFL Draft process.

The Combine was originally designed to provide scouts with an efficient way to do medical testing of the 300+ best prospects in the draft. During the 90s, teams began to focus more and more attention on the results of the athletic drills, resulting in some of the biggest busts in league history, including the infamous Mike Mamula. With pre-combine facilities training prospects to excel in these drills -- and not football -- teams are now learning to revert their attention back to where it belongs -- on the film.

I posted a blog earlier about five players who I believe will struggle in certain aspects of the drills and/or measurement portion of the Combine. This wasn't meant to say these players will be busts in the NFL, but that they could see their stock slip a bit this week.

In reality, the players who are likeliest to fall significantly on draft day will be the ones who come up with medical or off-field concerns that are discovered there.

There are several potential Top 100 prospects whose final grades will hinge on their medical grades.

QB Sam Bradford, Oklahoma (shoulder)
OT Bryan Bulaga, Iowa (thyroid condition)
OLB/DE Ricky Sapp, Clemson (knee)
QB Colt McCoy, Texas (shoulder)
TE Jermaine Gresham, Oklahoma (knee)
RB Jahvid Best, Cal (concussions)
DE Corey Wootton, Northwestern (knee)
TE Rob Gronkowski, Arizona (back)
QB Tony Pike, Cincinnati (forearm)
ILB Sean Lee, Penn State (knee)
DE Greg Hardy, Mississippi (knees, foot)
OT Jason Fox, Miami (knee)



Posted on: February 21, 2010 12:29 pm
 

Gronkowski will only lift at Combine

Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski is one of the real unknowns of the 2010 draft after missing the entire 2009 season due to a back injury and subsequent surgery.

According to Gronkowksi, interviewed last night on Sirius Radio with Howard Balzer, it seems that scouts will have to wait a bit longer to see him perform. Gronkowski is choosing to participate in the bench press only and will save all other drills for his Pro Day (tentatively scheduled for March 12).

Considering that the injury in question was his back, Gronkowski's decision to lift seems odd. Some will presume it as proof that Gronkowski feels he is healthy enough to perform all of the drills, but is electing to buy himself some more time to run the all-important 40-yard dash and go through pass-catching and route-running drills.

Of course, the biggest test Gronkowski has to answer at the Combine, he'll still undergo - proving through the exhaustive medical screening that he is, in fact, 100%.

Despite having only two seasons under his belt, the 20-year old Gronkowski is Arizona's all-time leading tight end in various categories, including the single-game, single-season, and career leader in receptions (75), receiving yards (1,197) and touchdowns (16).


When healthy, Gronkowski is the 2010 draft's best all-around tight end prospect and worthy of a first round pick. Considering the injury questions with Oklahoma's Jermaine Gresham and the size limitations of Florida's Aaron Hernandez, Gronkowski has a chance to be the first tight end selected this year. Depending on the scheme, each of these three players may be the top-rated tight end on NFL boards.
 
 
 
 
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