According to multiple sources, the Patriots have signed another rookie; TE Rob Gronkowski. First reported by Profootbaltalk, Gronkowski agreed to terms and will report in time for the start of training camp. ESPN reports the deal is for four years.
Rob Gronkowski was selected by the Patriots in the second round (42nd overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft. The former University of Arizona tight end was a key acquisition for New England, and was one of two tight ends the Patriots selected in the Draft.
Gronkowski was widely regarded as one of the top 5 tight ends available in the Draft by most draft analysts. He slide out of the first round due to concerns about a back injury that sidelined him in college. New England saw Gronkowski’s slide and deemed the injury risk acceptable. Instead of waiting for their next pick (44th overall)), the Patriots traded their 44th and 190th picks to the Raiders to take Gronkowski at 42.
Entering the Draft, New England had a glaring need for bodies at the tight end spot after allowing their former starters Chris Baker and Ben Watson leave via free agency. Although the team signed veteran Alge Crumpler in the offseason, depth and youth were needed at the position.
Gronkowski has the size and power to fit the Patriots offensive system. The 6-foot-6, 265-pound former Wildcat has all of the tools required to be an anchor for year’s to come. Though Gronkowski doesn’t’ quite have Kyle Brady size, his physical presence is an upgrade over Ben Watson’s athletic – bordering on receiver type -- build and Crumpler’s offensive lineman physique.
Here is a clip of Gronkowski’s pre-draft highlights:
With Gronkowski in the fold, the Patriots have just two rookies left to sign; CB Devin McCourty and LB Brandon Spikes.