Rob Grokowski is headed into a good situation with the Patriots/Tucson Citizen photo
Former Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski landed with one of the NFL’s top franchises, where he will catch passes from one of the NFL’s top quarterbacks and play not too far from his family.
About an hour into the second round of the draft Friday, the New England Patriots selected Gronkowski with the 10th pick in the round and the 42nd overall pick.
The Patriots moved up two spots in a trade with Oakland in order to select Gronkowski.
Gronkowski, who was attending the draft with his family (from western New York), friends and agent Drew Rosenhaus, gave NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a hug after his name was called.
Gronkowski described to USA Today how it felt getting the phone call from the Patriots before the official announcement.
“It was an unbelievable moment,” he reflected. “I didn’t know the (Massachusetts) area code. Drew (Rosenhaus), my agent, was like, ‘Oh, it’s New England.’ I was like, ‘Yes! That’s my team!’ It was very emotional for my family and I.”
Gronkowski had dreams of going in the first round, but this is close and about as well as he could have expected coming off back surgery that cost him the 2009 season. The Patriots had a need at tight end, and quarterback Tom Brady certainly will know how to get Gronk the ball.
“He sounds like a player who could play in the northeast,” said ESPN’s Chris Berman.
Said ESPN’s Steve Young: “When you have great quarterbacking … getting your tight end is almost or more important than receiver.”
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. gave a mixed review of the pick, citing other Patriots’ needs and his opinion that Gronkowski’s running is “not really fluid.”
“A little stiff in terms of his movement,” Kiper said. “Doesn’t adjust to the poorly thrown ball all that well. Will be a solid in-line blocker. … But his stiffness bothered me a little bit coming off a year when he is coming off a back injury.”
UA fans have had plenty of reasons to cheer the Patriots in the past 15 years or so, after they converted Tedy Bruschi from All-American defensive end to Pro Bowl linebacker and one of the faces of the franchise. Bruschi and former UA punter Josh Miller recently were selected to the Patriots’ all-decade team.