Instant analysis: Rob Gronkowski

April, 23, 2010
4/23/10
7:24
PM ET
FOXBORO -- In trading up two spots in the second round (42nd overall) to ensure that they landed Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots did three things:

1. They filled one of their top needs with the No. 1 or 2 ranked tight end in the draft.

2. They put their trust in medical tests that Gronkowski's previously injured back, which kept him out of the 2009 season after surgery, are accurate and that the back won't be an issue.

3. They showed how important it was to them to secure a tight end by giving up a sixth-round pick to leapfrog the Baltimore Ravens, who have a tight end need.

Whether this move is a success figures to primarily come back to the medical results, so that's the risk that the Patriots assume in making this selection, and that's probably why Gronkowski was available as deep as the 42nd pick in the draft. The reward could be immense, as Gronkowski could add a Heath Miller-like element to the Patriots' offense.

At 6-foot-6, 264 pounds, he is a complete tight end and that's the type of player the Patriots generally target. Top tight ends like Gronkowski traditionally are selected by the middle half of the second round, so the Patriots obviously felt that if they didn't make the move now, he wouldn't be there at the 47th pick.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter
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