Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Kyle Rudolph is an excellent route runner who has good hands and can make the catch in traffic. He adjusts nicely to the ball when it's in the air to come down with the catch. He has good size at 6'6 259-pounds and uses his body well. He's quick and fast enough to present mismatches for defenses when linebackers attempt to cover him. He's a very good athlete and shows great run after catch ability. Rudolph has the potential to be a very productive tight end at the next level with his combination of size, athleticism and hands. He's an effective blocker in the running game even if he could stand to develop a bit in this area.
While Rudolph has shown an ability to make the catch in traffic, he'll drop some of the easier ones. This isn't rare among young pass-catchers, but he'll need to work on consistently looking the ball into his hands on some of the shorter, easier passes. As mentioned, Rudolph is an effective blocker, but there is room for improvement. He split out as a receiver on several plays at Notre Dame, so working more with his hand on the ground in the NFL could take some development, but it shouldn't be much of a problem. One concern that is bound to arise and will likely keep him out of the first round is injuries. He was hurt in each of the last two seasons, forcing him to miss timere.
Rudolph's three seasons at Notre Dame produced remarkably similar statistics. The only difference, however, is the number of games played in each season. He played every game as a freshman in 2008 when he caught 29 passes for 340 yards and two touchdowns; he played in nine games as a sophomore in 2009 when he caught 33 passes for 364 yards and three touchdowns; and he played in six games as a junior in 2010 when he caught 28 passes for 328 yards and three touchdowns.
Potential NFL Team, Round
Despite injury woes in each of his last two seasons, Rudolph is likely going to be the first tight end taken. Had he played the entire 2010 season—which was shaping up to be a pretty productive season for Rudolph despite two games with only one and two yards receiving—he would likely be taken in the first round. However, the injury concerns should drop him into the second round.
Near the top of the second round, the Arizona Cardinals could look to nab Rudolph, while the New York Giants and Atlanta Falcons could also consider drafting Rudolph in the second. The Denver Broncos own two second round picks and tight end is a need for the rebuilding team.
One team that would probably like to draft Rudolph is the Miami Dolphins. Unfortunately for the Dolphins, though, they do not currently possess a second round pick and Rudolph probably will not last until the third round. Miami could look to trade out of the 15th spot in the first round, though, which could give them an opportunity to grab Rudolph in the second. Miami has several other needs including quarterback and running back, however, so targeting Rudolph is not an absolute certainty by any means.
Danny Hobrock, is a sports journalist covering NCAA Football and MLB. An NCAA Football On-Air Personality, Danny is the editor of our college football content. Danny's college football work has garnered national attention and has been critically acclaimed. You may email Danny directly @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @ DannyHobrock
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