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Countdown to draft: Gronkowski is a "dark horse" pick for Ravens

As part of the online coverage leading up to the NFL draft, The Sun will look at prospects who could be available for the Ravens with the 25th overall pick.

Rob Gronkowski

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Tight end, Arizona

Gronkowski is considered the Ravens' "dark horse" selection at the 25th overall spot, a league insider said. While many mock drafts have linked Oklahoma tight end Jermaine Gresham to the Ravens, it is believed that Gronkowski is just as highly rated by the Ravens.

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Gronkowski would become the heir apparent to Todd Heap, who turned 30 last month. A solid receiver and blocker, he has the potential to develop into the most complete tight end in this draft class.

Durability is the biggest concern. Gronkowski has never played a full season, and he missed the 2009 season following back surgery to shave off a disk that was sticking out and onto his spinal cord. Needing six months to recover, he didn't participate at the combine.

NFLDraftScout.com recently reported that an NFL scout had confirmed that Gronkowski has been "red-flagged" by teams due to stenosis, a narrowing of the spine that can cause numbness and leave a person prone to paralysis.

His agent denied the report.

Gronkowski boosted his draft status with an impressive Pro Day. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.65 seconds and only had two drops in pass-catching drills.

So don't be surprised if the Ravens take a chance on Gronkowski in the first round.

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