Photo by Scott Boehm - Getty Images
TE Dan Gronkowski (Maryland) - Round 7, Pick No. 255
With their third pick of the seventh round and the second-to-last pick of the draft, the Lions selected another tight end, Dan Gronkowski out of Maryland. When it gets this late in the draft, teams usually make picks based on how hard it will be to sign a certain player as an undrafted free agent. I'm sure that played a part in the Lions' selection, but another part apparently was the fact that the tight end position still needed more depth. Brandon Pettigrew is the obvious starter, but additional depth at the position apparently was a need for the coaching staff, as Gronkowski became the second tight end to go to the Lions in this year's draft.
Best trait per Scouts Inc.:
Possesses soft, reliable hands. Shows good concentration in traffic but lacks the body control to make acrobatic catches.
POSITIVES: Nice-sized tight end prospect who plays much faster than his forty time. Quickly gets off the snap into routes, displays a burst of speed, and extends his hands to make the reception away from his frame. Gets vertical and adjusts in midair to come down with the difficult catch. Uses his frame to shield away opponents and protect the pass. Smooth moving around the field, and shows a good degree of quickness in his all-around game. Breaks down well, and plays with good knee bend. Solid strength at the point, and removes linebackers from the action.
NEGATIVES: Inconsistent hands and does not show the ability to pluck the fastball from the air. Lacks blocking balance and does not finish blocks.
Touchdown reception against Florida State (2006):
Draft day feature (shows him getting the call from the Lions):
Outlook for 2009
Gronkowski will compete for a spot on the roster with the other tight ends on the team. If I had to make a prediction right now, I would say he is more of a practice squad type of player since the Lions do have quite a few tight ends now, but it is only May. Once training camp begins we should have a better idea of which players will make the roster and which ones will be on the practice squad or off the team altogether. Also, we should have a better idea if three of four tight ends will make the team. Scott Linehan seems like he wants to utilize the team's tight ends in his offense, so that very well could mean four TEs make the team. If that is the case, then Gronkowski has a good chance of making the team as the fourth tight end.