What we are really waiting for is the Bossman to make the leap from productive 40-50 catch tight end to upper echelon 70-90 catch tight end. Or, rather, for the Giants to use him that way.
What we are not looking for is to have the Giants bring in competition or -- gasp! -- a replacement for No. 89. Still, the draft is looming, there are Daily NFL Draft Prospect Profiles that still need to be written and one of the interesting players we have not yet talked about is Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Gronkowski is a 6-foot-6, 260-pound all-around tight end who declared for the draft after his junior season. He is considered by some the most talented tight end in the draft -- except for one small detail. He missed all of 2009 with a back injury, and there are questions about his long-term health.
Let's take a closer look.
Rob Gronkowski Scouting Reports
From Draft Countdown.
Terrific natural athleticism ... Soft, reliable hands ... Superb body control and ball skills ... Good route runner who knows how to get open ... Able to get off the line and beat the jam ... Runs hard after the catch and will break tackles ... Flashes some strength and power ... Excellent blocker both in-line and in space ... Health / Durability are major concerns ... Not very explosive ... Average game speed, acceleration and quickness ... Doesn't get a lot of separation ... Won't be much of a vertical weapon.
Missed the entire 2009 season after undergoing surgery last September to repair a herniated lumbar disk and nerve damage in his back ... Burst onto the scene as a true freshman and has been considered to be the top tight end prospect in his class for quite some time ... Nice all-around player who earns high marks as a pass catcher and blocker ... A legitimate first round talent but stock is clouded by the back injury, an ailment that can linger and have long- term ramifications ... Profiles as a starter assuming he can stay healthy.
From Mocking The Draft.
Has only played two seasons of college football. A lingering back injury prior to the 2009 season required surgery. Despite missing the season, Gronkowski still opted to enter the draft.
His injury history will be heavily scrutinized and may totally knock him off some teams' boards.
When he's healthy, Gronkowski is an excellent tight end with good all-around skills. He's big and physical at the point of attack, but agile enough to be a sound receiver.
From Walter Football, which makes a very interesting comparison.
Gronkowski is a very well-rounded tight end prospect and will likely come off the board in the second round, but if team doctors have very serious concerns with his back (and some certainly should) then he could really fall in the 2010 NFL Draft. Back issues are probably the worst kind of injury for an athlete and generally these athletes have injury problems throughout their careers. Gronkowski will never be an elite tight end in the NFL, but if he stays healthy he should certainly be a productive contributor and starter.
Player Comparison: Kevin Boss. Boss and Gronkowski have similar frames, athleticism and receiving skills.
Why Gronkowski fits with the Giants
Partially because Travis Beckum is not a traditional tight end, and I'm not sure he ever will actually fit into the Giants more traditional approach to using the tight end. Also because, when healthy he is an excellent receiver and blocker. Adding another weapon for Eli Manning could hardly be considered a bad thing.
Why the Giants should pass
Because the Giants already have Boss and they don't need a carbon-copy. They need to throw KB the ball more. Period. Besides, Gronkowski will come off the board pretty early and his history makes him way too big of a risk for the Giants at a position where his skill-set really doesn't add much to the mix.