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University of Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski will be entering the NFL sometime this weekend, as he is one of the top tight ends in this year's deep draft class. His brother, Dan Gronkowski, out of the University of Maryland, is already there, having been drafted by the Detroit Lions in the seventh round of last year's draft. Dan has given his little bro some beneficial advice such as what defenses he will be seeing in the pros as well as working out with him in Florida as Rob recovers from his back injury. A third Gronkowski bother, Chris, was a fullback at Arizona, and hopes to be drafted as well or sign with an NFL team as an undrafted free agent. Leaving after his junior year, Rob says that the decision was partly based on his inability to play with Chris, who was a year ahead of him in college.
Rob, who at 6'6" and 265 pounds, is a bit bigger than his oldest brother Dan, who at 6'5" and 255 pounds, was known as a 'Workout Warrior' at the 2009 NFL Combine. However, Dan was a late round draft pick by the Lions, who had already drafted tight end Brandon Pettigrew in the first round of the same draft and therefore only played in two games, catching but one pass for four yards.
While Rob didn't play in 2009 due to his back surgery, he is still regarded as one of the top prospects, based mostly on his stellar 2008 season where he caught 47 balls for 672 yards, including an impressive ten TD passes. In two seasons at Arizona, his career totals include 75 receptions for 1197 yards and 16 TD's, including a nifty 15.9 yard per catch average, very solid numbers for an underclassman.
Over at SB Nation's affiliate, National Fottball Post, Gronkowski is rated as the second best tight end in what is widely known as one of the deepest positions in the 2010 NFL Draft. They rank Florida's Aaron Hernandez ahead of him and Oklahoma's Jermaine Gresham behind him. However, Gronkowski is considered a better blocker than Hernandez who was mostly on the receiving end of a lot of QB Tim Tebow's passes.
NFL Draft Scout also ranks Gronkowski as the second best TE in this year's class (47th best prospect overall), behind Oklahoma's Gresham. They project him to go as early as the late first round and as late as the third or fourth round, but most likely he'll be selected somewhere in the second round.
Regardless of when and where Rob goes, he will enter the league at a higher point than any other Gronkowski ever did, and a successful career at the pro level will be based on truly how well his back has healed, as he already has the size and skills to be an elite TE and proudly join his brother Dan (and perhaps brother Chris as well) in the NFL.
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