NFL Combine: TEs talk George Kittle and little Gronk

Andy Hart
February 26, 2020 - 7:09 am
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INDIANAPOLIS -- It wasn’t long ago that Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was the unquestioned measuring stick at the position.

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He is after all one of the greatest to ever play the game and a future Hall of Fame talent.

As the old wrestling gimmick goes, men wanted to be him and women wanted to be with him. Or something like that.

But now, with Gronkowski having been away from the NFL for a year enjoying early retirement, NFL Scouting Combine tight end prospects seem to have turned their attention elsewhere.

Suddenly, 49ers stud George Kittle seems to be the first name that comes to mind.

“I love to watch George Kittle,” declared Oregon tight end Jake Breeland. “I love the way he competes, how physical he is as the point of attack. When he blocks, how he finishes, runs his feet through contact and when he has the ball in his hands he loves getting YAC yards and I take pride in that too; I love getting YAC yards and being physical with the ball in my hands. The first guy should never tackle me, just like him”

“He's my favorite player to watch,” noted FAU Mackey Award winner Harrison Bryant, who was compared to Kittle by NFL.com. “This last offseason I watched pretty much all his games, and just to receive that it was pretty incredible.”

A number of tight ends at the Combine brought up watching the Super Bowl LIV matchup that included the best tight ends in the game in Kittle and Chiefs’ star Travis Kelce.

But not everybody has forgotten about Gronkowski, even if he now makes a living as a media analyst and product pitchman.

“I definitely watched a lot of Gronk tape. I really admire how he has a balance to his game,” Missouri’s Albert Okwuegbunam said. “He’s dominant in both the run and pass game. I try and emulate that. As far as receiving threats, you have Kelce that I watch. You have Ertz with the receiving ability and then Kittle, he has a little bit of everything.”

“I was a Gronk fan, I think everyone was really." Virginia Tech's Dalton Keene said. "I think Rob, he's on a whole different level than a lot of tight ends. He can just do so much. He's huge, he's super athletic. He's kind of a freak."

Related: Could Florida WR Van Jefferson follow father’s route to Patriots?