The position of Tight End has rose to prominence with the ascension of stars Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski, before these two players the position was far less dynamic. There have become several different types of TE’s in the league: receiving TE’s which spent a lot of time in the slot, blocking TE’s and the rare TE that can do it all. Gronkowski is the gold standard of tight ends, so I think we would be best served by just breaking down what makes him such a game changer.
Breaking Down Rob Gronkowski
He is called “Gronk” for a reason, Gronkowski has imposing size at 6’6″, 265lbs of solid muscle. Gronk has the size to shield off defenders and run over them. Size is a necessity for TE’s as they typically don’t have blazing speed and must use there size to compensate. height and arm length also provides a security blanket for the quarterback.
This is the most impressive attribute that Gronkowski possesses. He completed 23 reps of 225lbs at the NFL Combine, but has since grown even stronger and uses his strength to bully defenders on the field. His strength also allows him to be a great blocker and drive defenders off the ball.
With a 4.68s – 40 yard dash he has acceptable speed for a TE, but has better game speed than timed speed and is able to run away from defenders on the field. Gronkowski is also a very fluid route runner, which allows him to utilize all of his speed (without slowing down in his breaks).
One of the most physical players and tight ends in the league, Gronkowski is not afraid to mix it up on the line of scrimmage. He is able to block line backers, defensive lineman and chip off the edge.
This is one of the most critical traits of all. Gronkowski has exceptional hands and is able to catch and secure the ball even with only one hand.
Gronk in action, click here to watch this one-handed catch
Gronkowski is the gold standard and NFL teams are all looking for the next “Gronk”.