These reports are still coming in fast and furious like Vin Diesel, but this time it's a potential first round pick.
Kyle Rudolph is generally considered to be the best player at his position in the class, offering a combination of size, blocking ability and pass-catching acumen that's drawn him comparisons to guys like Jason Witten. With the news that the Falcons are bringing Rudolph in for a workout next week, it seemed like a good time to take a closer look at the 6'6" tight end.
After the jump, we'll see if Rudolph can't fail.
First, I feel I should acknowledge the fact that many of you are not on board with the selection of Rudolph. I both understand that and generally support it. I think there are bigger needs.
That said, if Rudolph is the best player on the board at #27 and the Falcons can't move down, it's not like he'd be an awful pick. No eye-popping numbers here, as Rudolph missed six games in 2010 and reeled in 28 catches for 328 yards and three touchdowns, following up a 2009 campaign that saw him catch 33 for 364 yards and three touchdowns. The junior was actually remarkably consistent in college, never putting up more than 33 catches, 364 yards or three touchdowns. Basically, that sophomore season was as good as it got.
Rudolph is one of the rare cases in the NFL Draft where a lack of a stellar 40 time—thanks to his injury he didn't even run at the Combine—and an equal lack of crazy production hasn't dented his stock. He's likely to go in the first or second round when the draft rolls around later this month.
What works in his favor is that Rudolph is more or less the most complete tight end in the draft. He's not blazing fast, but he's already a very polished blocker, has great hands and has just enough burst to surprise the linebackers and safeties assigned to cover him. Witten's actually probably a pretty apt comparison, and there isn't a team in the league besides the Kansas City Chiefs that didn't wish they had that guy over the past decade or so.
The video in the linked New York Times story before the jump probably gives you the best idea of what Rudolph is capable of when he turns on the jets to snatch a 95-yard touchdown pass, but it is only one play. I would say it's actually his consistency that recommends him, but you may disagree.
Any thoughts on Rudolph?