The other top TE coming off an injury mentioned in the WTHWTD on Gronkowski. Gresham tore knee ligaments in preseason requiring season ending surgery coming off a junior season in which he totaled 950 yards and 14 TDs on 66 catches. In returning for his ill fated senior season he passed up a good chance to be the top TE selected (he was considered by many a better prospect than Brandon Pettigrew, who Gresham beat out for All-Conference honors in 08. Pettigrew was taken 20th overall in last years draft).
A year removed from playing football his stock has dipped but he's still a contender for a late first round pick due to a dangerous combination of size, athleticism and receiving skills. The biggest factor working against him as a Colts pick is that he's not a dominating blocker and did his best work split out, rather than in the in-line role that the Colts would be more likely looking for an upgrade at. A tendency to body catch is the other main concern, but both of those are coachable. What made him an elite prospect was great size at 6'5" 259lbs combined with enough speed to stretch down the seam and very good route running. In addition he is a YAC machine using great strength to bully and bull over DBs downfield.
He runs good routes and is an able blocker. He's able to go over the short middle with confidence but has enough speed to get down the seam. Has a great frame for an NFL tight end. Gresham is strong throughout his body ad looks like his can get even stronger. Uses his size nicely as a jump-ball target and to shield off defenders. A perfect red zone target. Very hard to take down after the catch. Gresham won't outrun a lot of opponents, but he can certainly run them over. Shows a lot of effort. He was the ultimate safety valve for quarterback Sam Bradford because he can get open quickly and goes over the middle with ease.
There are some questions about Gresham's hands. He doesn't always extend to make the catch and has a tendency to let the ball get into his body.He's at his best when he splits out so he'll have to improve his release technique when he has his hand down. Needs to play more physical (see the 2008 Texas game where he was manhandled by Sergio Kindle).
NFL Draft Scout
Despite his height, he gets off the line quickly whether standing up or in three-point stance. Finds second gear to accelerate past linebackers....makes some very difficult catches in traffic - but still short-arms some balls and allows others into his chest. Adjusts to poorly thrown balls in any direction.....Superior height and excellent vertical for his size make him a top jump ball target.....Runs short, intermediate and deep routes effectively. Smooth runner. Quicker feet than expected, and runs tight routes inside and out. Sits down in zones and presents a large target. Will use head and body fakes before planting to cut. Constantly threatens the deep seam, as teams use a cornerback to cover him. Uses his big body to shield defenders over the middle and especially in the red zone......Runs like a large wide receiver but is as strong as an ox after the catch. Makes defenders miss with a quick stop move and is strong enough to push oncoming tacklers by.....Will lean forward to run through arm tackles, sometimes requiring three defenders to bring him down.....Effective, if not dominating, blocker in-line and on the edge when lined in the slot or in motion.....Latches onto defensive backs on downfield blocks, and will take them 25-30 yards downfield in front of screens.....Could be more consistent using his hands and feet to sustain...
Gresham is a great prospect and worth a late first round pick, but for a team with 4 starting caliber WRs, an elite hybrid TE and a pair of 1st round RBs investing a first round pick in another target seems like overkill and an inefficient use of resources. The Colts roster isn't set up to play to a player like Gresham's strengths. 5th option and extra blocker wastes much of his skill set and leans on some of his weaker areas.
In all, love the prospect, hate the fit.