Patriots gridiron news: Troy Niklas ‘excited’ to learn from Rob Gronkowski

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Newly signed tight end Troy Niklas knows he has to earn a roster spot with the New England Patriots and is excited to learn from one of the best in the game.

Former Arizona Cardinals tight end Troy Niklas is getting a fresh start and a second chance to prove himself with the New England Patriots.

Signed to a one-year deal just a month ago, the 25-year-old tight end is obviously excited for the opportunity to find his niche in the Patriots’ offense and also learn from All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski.

Now, assuming Gronkowski does return for the 2018 season, Niklas will have a chance to see how the dominant tight end prepares on and off the field.  As a player compared to Gronkowski prior to the 2014 NFL Draft, the only comparison he shares with Gronk is a history of injury.

Still, the talent is there and he certainly has the body (6-foot-6, 270 pounds). Whatever he can pick up from the Patriots big playmaker should greatly improve his total production of 19 catches for 203 yards and three touchdowns in his four-year career.

Besides catching the ball from Tom Brady, Troy Niklas is nothing but excited to learn from one of the best in the game.

"“I’m just really excited about it,” Niklas said Thursday while addressing the media.  “He’s obviously one of the best tight ends to have ever played.  I’m just excited to learn from him and play with him. …There’s just something about players like him that have had success on that kind of level.  They have little nuanced things that they know and they kind of just pass down, so I’m just excited to learn some of those little things that he does in his game that make him great.”More from Chowder and Champions3 Midseason Chaim Bloom Decisions That Have Killed the 2023 Red Sox10 Patriots Who Will Be Cut by Tuesday’s Roster DeadlineMLB Screws Red Sox Fans With Broadcast for Mookie Betts Return3 Most Underpaid Celtics Heading Into the 2023 SeasonRed Sox Continue Rollercoaster Season With Massive Win"

This narrative could change if Rob Gronkowski does not return, but from the way Niklas is gushing about Gronk, it sounds like he may know something we don’t know about Gronk’s 2018 plans.

Second chance with the Patriots 

Prior to the 2014 NFL draft, the New England Patriots hosted Troy Niklas for a visit.  The fact that he drew interest from the team only heightened comparisons to Rob Gronkowski.

Back then, the Patriots were on the hunt for a second tight end to compliment Gronkowski and even serve as insurance in case the big man went down again due to injury.  Niklas ended up being selected with the 52nd overall pick in that year’s draft by the Arizona Cardinals, but he did get use to the idea of potentially playing in New England.

"“I was really excited about maybe getting to come here, but that’s how the draft is,” Niklas said.  “You don’t really get to choose.  But I was happy with my time in Arizona and very thankful that they drafted me.  I had a great time here.”"

Next: New England Patriots: Top 5 pass catching tight ends of all time

As a free agent this offseason, Troy Niklas had the chance to choose and chose the Patriots.  While he knows and understands he will have to earn his opportunity, the experience alone should help propel his NFL career.