Super Bowl XLVI : With Pats TE Rob Gronkowski Injured, Will Giants TE Jake Ballard Fly In Under The Radar?

By Robert D. Cobb

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – There has been a lot of discussion about the high ankle sprain injury suffered by New England Patriots Pro Bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski in the AFC Championship Game against the Baltimore Ravens.

Many tend to forget about the OTHER tight end who will be playing in Super Bowl XLVI—New York Giants tight end, Jake Ballard.

Gronkowski, who is currently listed as day-to-day—and the subject of media speculation—was recently spotted out of his walking boot during Super Bowl Media Day, may help the rookie out of Ohio State fly in under the proverbial radar and steal the show in Indianapolis.

Ballard, a 6’6, 275-pound tight end, has caught 38 passes for 604 yards and four touchdowns, may be the x-factor in how the Giant’s dissect the Patriot’s 31st ranked defense.

Ballard would have four receptions for 67 yards and catch the game-winning touchdown in the Giant’s 24-20 win over the Patriots in Foxboro during the regular season.

In two post-season games, Ballard has caught three passes for 33 yards in wins over Atlanta and Green Bay.

Ballard would play in the Giants 20-17 NFC Championship victory over the San Francisco 49ers but have no catches and be targeted only once.

With his combination of size, strength and reliable hands and the attention that the wide receiving corps of Mario Manningham, Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks, Ballard could prove to be an invaluable asset to the Giants on intermediate routes and as a enticing red zone target for Giants quarterback Eli Manning.

With all of the attention being given towards Gronkowski—and even the other tight end in New England in Aaron Hernandez—the lack of attention may be the perfect thing for both Ballard and the New York Giants Super Bowl hopes.

Follow me on Twitter, @RobertCobb_76

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