Gronkowski’s best move is to come back, draft analyst saysby Anthony Gimino on Oct. 08, 2009, under Sports
Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski has not been made available to the media since successful back surgery late last month, but coach Mike Stoops said this week it will be 2-3 months before the potential All-American can resume physical activity.
The assumption has been that Gronkowski would return next season as a redshirt junior, re-establish himself in the eyes of NFL scouts, and then move on to the first round of the 2011 draft.
On other hand, if Gronkowski is healthy for the NFL scouting combine next February, couldn’t he just wow the scouts with his physical ability and rely on two good seasons of game film?
I talked to Rob Rang of NFLdraftscout.com, and he said option No. 1 is definitely the way to go.
“I think it would be a foolish decision to not come back and play college football,” said Rang, whose work also helps fuel the draft coverage on CBSSports.com.
“This is not a great senior class of tight ends, so I could see where he would have some encouragement to come out. But he has first- or second-round ability, and to come out early and put all your eggs in that basket in terms of workouts, I think it would be a risky move and not worth the risk.
“He certainly has the ability to come back and prove himself to be the elite tight end in the entire country.”
The way it has worked out this season, the nation’s top two tight ends — Oklahoma’s Jermaine Gresham and Gronkowski — won’t play a single down because of injuries. Gresham, recovering from a knee injury, already has said he would make himself available in the 2010 draft.
All things being healthy and equal, Rang said Gresham is a better pro prospect than Gronk right now.
“Gresham’s length and straight-line speed,” Rang said of Gresham’s advantages.
“He’s more of a receiver specialist, and in the way the NFL uses tight ends nowadays, that is preferred. He is a top 10-type of prospect.”
Rang said Gronkowski will simply need to show he’s healthy next season.
“His health is absolutely the critical element,” Rang said.
“If he comes out for the draft this year, he will be able to prove he is healthy enough to run the 40 and bench press and all that, but he won’t be able to prove he can take a hit (after the back surgery).
“Next season, he wouldn’t have to prove anything else in terms of ability. He has proven he can block, and certainly has proven he can catch.”
Related link at wildaboutazcats.com: Devin Ross’ draft stock is on the rise