Rob Gronkowski to start year on active roster, not PUP
Undergoing the knife five times over the past 10 months and most recently for his back, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will begin the season on the 53-man active roster as opposed to the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
The move is not a huge surprise considering a report earlier this month that Gronkowski's rehab was "on schedule" and that there was a good chance that he'd return by Week 3.
As you can see from the chart to the right, no other tight end (or wide receiver) has scored as many touchdowns as Gronkowski (39) over the three-year span since he has been drafted. In fact, Gronk and Megatron are the only two non-RBs to have at least 30 scores during that span.
Gronkowski has double-digit receiving touchdowns in all three years that he has been in the league even though he missed five games last year. As you can imagine, he's the only player in the league with double-digit receiving touchdowns in each of the past three seasons.
Based on the assumption that he returns in Week 3 and 4, there is no reason that he can't score double-digit touchdowns for fourth consecutive season if he can stay healthy once he returns.
Of course, there is some risk with that, but I'd draft Gronk as the next tight end off the board after Jimmy Graham and I'd be comfortable taking him in the middle of the third round (based on my top 200 rankings) — or thrilled to take him in the fourth round (or later).