Gronkowski broke into tears before starting a pseudo-mosh pit with his family, breaking toward the stage, getting his hands on a Patriots helmet and bear hugging commissioner Roger Goodell. Afterwards, Gronkowski put the helmet on and started dancing. The man was truly ecstatic to be heading to New England.
The 6-foot-6, 265-pounder caught 75 passes for 1,197 yards and 16 touchdowns in two years with Arizona. Gronkowski didn't play during his 2009 junior season due to back surgery, but his best season came as a sophomore in 2008, when he caught 47 passes for 672 yards and 10 touchdowns in 10 games.
Gronkowski was considered by many to be the most complete tight end in the draft. He only played two seasons at Arizona but was statistically the most productive tight end in program history. He is also a very strong blocker, which gives him the ability to play all three downs for the Patriots. This was a really good pick.
Gronkowski will have an opportunity to step in and start right away. Alge Crumpler, who signed with the Patriots this offseason after Ben Watson bolted for Seattle, is the only other tight end on the active roster. Crumpler will be used almost exclusively in a blocking role, and Gronkowski will have the opportunity to be the primary pass-catching target at the position. With wide receiver Wes Welker recovering from surgery, the Patriots will likely look toward Julian Edelman and Gronkowski to eat up the production in the middle of the field.
Here is the lowdown on Gronkowski's back injury, which comes from his draft bio:
Gronkowski missed the entire  season after undergoing surgery to fix a herniated disk and repair nerve damage in his back. It was the sciatica — leg weakness and pain brought on by a pinched nerve — that first gave him an indication that something was wrong with his back. Most doctors urged him to undergo surgery immediately, while a few believed that he could play nine or 10 games following a month-long, nonsurgical rehabilitation. Gronkowski felt better when he returned to practice Sept. 14. By the next day, however, the pain and weakness was back, and he elected to get surgery. Dr. Robert G. Watkins of the Marina Spine Center in Marina del Rey, Calif., performed a three and a half hour microdiscectomy on his back on Sept. 24, removing a small portion of the player’s spine to relieve pressure on his sciatic nerve.
"I saw that New England was right behind Baltimore, so I saw that I had a pretty good chance of going right in that row, going to Baltimore or New England. I'm happy that New England traded up right in front of Baltimore and took me. I think it was an excellent choice, and I think it’s going to be great to be part of such a great organization."
–Gronkowski, who believed the Ravens would have taken him at No. 43 if the Patriots didn’t trade up to No. 42. The tight end said he spent a "pretty decent amount" of time with the Ravens in the pre-draft process.
Powered by WordPress.com VIP