Mocking It Up: The Gronk Draft

If there’s any player at his position who’s head and shoulders above the rest of the field it’s Rob Gronkowski. There is something to be said for Antonio Brown, with his usage, but, even without having Tom Brady the first four games of the season, I’m not worried about Gronk’s numbers. Without Roethlisberger last season Brown’s numbers suffered. There you go.

So I decided to see if I could do a mock draft based on picking up Gronk in the first round. Usually I don’t recommend drafting a TE so early, but if you’re going to do it, then do it with Gronk. I entered a mock draft room where I drafted fifth, which is when I decided I was going Gronk for several reasons:

  1. I knew Peterson (RB) and Gurley (RB) would be gone.
  2. I knew Brown (WR) and Beckham (WR) would be gone.
  3. I wasn’t sold on any other RBs or WRs available in the first round.

Therefore, I went Gronk with the fifth pick in a 12-team mock draft, and under the same set of conditions I outlined above I would do it again in a real draft. Here is the entire first round…

ROUND ONE

1. Pick 1: Antonio Brown, WR (PIT)
2. Pick 2: Odell Beckham, Jr., WR (NYG)
3. Pick 3: Adrian Peterson, RB (MIN)
4. Pick 4: Todd Gurley, RB (LA)
5. Me: ROB GRONKOWSKI, TE (NE)
6. Pick 6: Devonta Freeman, RB (ATL)
7. Pick 7: Julio Jones, WR (ATL)
8. Pick 8: Ezekiel Elliott, RB (DAL)
9. Pick 9: DeAndre Hopkins, WR (HOU)
10. Pick 10: David Johnson, RB (ARI)
11: Pick 11: Le’Veon Bell, RB (PIT)
12: Pick 12: Dez Bryant, WR (DAL)

As you can see, no other TEs off the board in round one, which is how it should be. In my estimation, the number 2 TE is Jordan Reed, and he should be going off the board at the earliest in the third round. Of course picking Gronk at slot 5 made my second round pick more difficult because of the options that would be thinner at RB and WR then. Here is how my second round played out…

ROUND TWO

12. Pick 13: Jordan Reed
11. Pick 14: A.J. Green
10. Pick 15: Lamar Miller
9. Pick 16: Allen Robinson
8. Pick 17: Doug Martin
7. Pick 18: Mark Ingram
6. Pick 19: Jordy Nelson
5. Me: JAMAAL CHARLES
4. Pick 21: Thomas Rawls
3. Pick 22: Brandon Marshall
2. Pick 23: LeSean McCoy
1. Pick 24: Sammy Watkins

Remember what I said about Jordan Reed going third round. I think Team 12 knew that as well, but they really wanted Reed. No way was he going to be available by the end of the third round, when Team 12 would come up again, so they snatched him first in round 2. If they really wanted him then at least they picked him up, but look at all the value at WR and RB that went after him. I was glad to snag Charles to head my rushing attack in the 2nd round, knowing there would be solid receivers available to me midway through the 3rd…

ROUND THREE

1. Pick 25: Eddie Lacy
2. Pick 26: Jonathan Stewart
3. Pick 27: Eric Decker
4. Pick 28: Kelvin Benjamin
5. Me: DEMARYIUS THOMAS
6. Pick 30: Alshon Jeffery
7. Pick 31: Mike Evans
8. Pick 32: Amari Cooper
9. Pick 33: Brandin Cooks
10. Pick 34: Cam Newton
11. Pick 35: Keenan Allen
12. Pick 36: Carlos Hyde

I’ll admit it was a little bit of a stretch to grab Thomas with this pick, considering QB play is not expected to be great (nor needed) for the Broncos, but he’s a dynamic player who is due to still get his regardless. It was either him or Jeffery for me, and I was burned by him sitting so much time last season. Then it was time for my fourth round, which I always think is just as important as the first three.

ROUND FOUR

12. Pick 37: C.J. Anderson
11. Pick 38: Aaron Rodgers
10. Pick 39: Golden Tate
9. Pick 40: Matt Forte
8. Pick 41: Greg Olsen
7. Pick 42: T.Y. Hilton
6. Pick 43: Julian Edelman
5. Me: JARVIS LANDRY
4. Pick 43: Randall Cobb
3. Pick 44: Ryan Fitzpatrick
2. Pick 45: Doug Baldwin
1. Pick 46: Dion Lewis

Probably one of the most athletic guys in the whole league, Jarvis Landry does it all for a Miami team that I feel will have to lean on him again this year in a variety of ways. I wanted Edelman (for more of the same reason), but he went off the board just before I picked, so I went with Landry, who I feel will have an almost identical season.

After round four the rest of the mock draft went pretty much according to plan. I loaded up on running backs, which I think is definitely the way to go. The odds are that I would be able to hit on a surprise #1 back with this method who I could slot into my starting lineup as the season progressed. At the least I needed guys who could fill in for injury or ineffectiveness. Here is my entire lineup from this mock draft…

QB: Blake Bortles (Round 8)
RB1: Jamaal Charles
RB2: Jeremy Hill (Round 5)
WR1: Demaryius Thomas
WR2: Jarvis Landry
TE: Rob Gronkowski
FLEX: Justin Forsett (Round 9)
D/ST: Vikings (Round 14)
K: Cairo Santos (Round 15)

BENCH:
DeAngelo Williams (Round 6)
Tom Brady (Round 7)
Darren Sproles (Round 10)
C.J. Prosise (Round 11)
Jerick McKinnon (Round 12)
Chris Johnson (Round 13)
Pierre Garcon (Round 16)

As you can see, drafting Rob Gronkowski instead of a WR or RB in round one is not detrimental to the final makeup of the team — if you draft in the fifth spot or later in a 10 or 12-team non-PPR league. Any earlier than that, though, and your team will start to get watered down rather quickly, particularly in a 12-team league (like the one I mock drafted in for this one).

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