New England Patriots: Revisiting and Grading the Draft: 2010

3 of 11

Feb 1, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski sticks his tongue out as he celebrates with the Vince Lombardi trophy with quarterback Tom Brady following the game against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

2nd Round  #42 overall: tight end Rob Gronkowski


New England had the #44 overall pick in the draft in 2010 due to trade of their third round draft pick in 2009 to Jacksonville for the future second round pick and a seventh round draft pick in 2009. The third round pick came to the Patriots as part of the deal that netted the Packers Clay Matthews and was turned into two picks. That seventh round draft pick in 2009 turned into Julian Edelman while the Jaguars used the pick on cornerback Derek Cox. Cox was a solid player for four years in Jacksonville but suffered with injuries.  Cox moved on to San Diego in 2013 and was benched and then released despite signing a big four year deal. He moved on to Minnesota but was cut during training camp. He latched on to Baltimore but lasted three days and was out of the league the rest of the season.


After having already drafted cornerback Darius Butler, wide receiver Brandon Tate, and wide receiver Julian Edelman in 2009 with the picks from trading down twice and passing up tackle Michael Oher and Clay Matthews, New England packaged the #44 overall pick with a fourth round pick (#190 overall) to move up two spots with Oakland to leapfrog the tight end needy Baltimore Ravens and draft a tight end out of Arizona who missed the entire season prior with a back injury. That player turned out to be Rob Gronkowski.

Feb 1, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) is pursued by Seattle Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor (31) in Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

While Clay Matthews is an excellent player it is safe to say that Tom Brady and all of New England are happy having both Edelman and Gronkowski instead. It turned out to be one of the best second-round draft picks in history and the Patriots have reaped the rewards of having Gronkowski on the field (when healthy).  Instead of drafting Gronk, the Ravens took washout linebacker Sergio Kindle who played just three games and suffered from a freak slip-and-fall accident that derailed his career. The Raiders took defensive end Lamarr Houston who has been a good player but is not a difference maker like Gronkowski.

Gronkowski has put up ridiculous numbers in New England becoming the biggest red zone threat in the NFL. He is a three time Pro Bowl selection and two time All Pro. In five seasons he has over 450 receptions for over 4,000 yards and over 50 touchdowns. Only in 2013 when he missed 9 games did he not have double-digit touchdown receptions.



Despite any injuries he suffered slowing him down, there has been no reason for New England to have considered anyone other than Gronkowski. Solid players such as guard Zane Beadles, defensive tackle Linval Joseph, and linebackers Daryl Washington and Jason Worilds were drafted in the same area as Gronkowski. Of course, defensive tackle Torell Troup (three career games) went one pick prior to Gronkowski and Kindle went the pick right afterwards.



The picking of Gronkowski in the second round ranks with the selection of quarterback Tom Brady as one of the franchise defining draft picks of the Bill Belichick era. The addition of Gronkowski has made a strong offense into one of the best in the NFL since he joined New England.


Next: Round Two Cont.