Gronkowski to NFL; What's Next for Arizona?

Tom PhillipsCorrespondent IJanuary 18, 2010

TUCSON, AZ - OCTOBER 04:  Rob Gronkowski #48 of the Arizona Wildcats runs for a first quarter touchdown in front of Cameron Elisara #99 of the Washington Huskies during a first quarter run on October 4, 2008 at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Arizona.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Junior tight end Rob Gronkowski announced on Friday that he will forego two years of eligibility and enter the NFL draft.

He made the decision after getting clearance from the doctor who performed his back surgery early last season.

Arizona fans had hopes of seeing Foles to Gronkowski and what a nightmare they could have been for opposing defenses. Now the only way they will see it is on a video game.

Gronkowski's addition to this past season's offensive unit would have been something that would have been scary. His presence on the field demanded double teams, freeing up other receivers on single coverage.

"Gronk" will no doubt have success in the NFL. He was one of the top three most physically gifted athletes to ever play at Arizona and will be able to show that wherever he ends up in the league.

So what does his leaving mean for the Cats?

It doesn't help Arizona get over the Rose Bowl hump but it doesn't crush them either.

Arizona's offense ran smoothly without him and it will go forward the same way.

The Cats are only losing three starters on offense, one of which is a receiver. They will still have all of their weapons they utilized so well from last year. Plus, having the guy who threw the ball so well back helps tremendously.

Arizona will now need some of their younger players to step up at the tight end position.

Senior tight end AJ Simmons has the most experience and is good along the goalline but has yet to prove himself to be a threat in the open field.

Sophomore Terrence Miller is an intriguing player. He has the size to play tight end but the Arizona coaching staff likes to play him in their small tight end position. At small tight end he is basically a receiver and does not have to block.

Miller has shown the skills to be a great mismatch as a receiver because of his size, 6'4" 220 lbs, but did not see the field a lot due to only being 17 last season. With an offseason he will be able to mature and become a greater asset to the team.

Losing Gronk obviously is a big blow to the Rose Bowl dreams of Arizona fans for 2010 but if the Cats are able to improve on last year, they could be an offensive juggernaut.