Despite Kyle Rudolph’s injury plagued 2010 season, he is still the best available tight end is this year’s draft. At the NFL Combine, he measured in at 6’6 1/8 and 259 pounds, but those same injuries limited his participation the remainder of the week.
Rudolph was a three year starter at Notre Dame and holds the single-game receiving yards record, gaining 164 yards against Michigan. On tape, he shows soft hands with a natural ability to come down with the catch on a consistent basis. He goes up and battles for jump balls at their highest point and uses his 6’6 frame to shield out defenders. He is an excellent route runner for his size and makes sharp cuts to create separation from man-to-man coverage. Rudolph has the versatility to line up on the line of scrimmage, in the slot, or even in the backfield to create mismatch opportunities for the offense. He will need to continue to work on his inline blocking technique to stay balanced and hold the point of attack, but I do like the effort and competitive nature he brings to the blocking aspect of his game.
Overall, Rudolph is the best tight end in a fairly decent year of talent. He will give teams more of a well rounded option rather than a scheme specific tight end such as D.J. Williams or Lance Kendricks. I compare the potential and playing style of Kyle Rudolph to John Carlson or Rob Gronkowski, both of which are the future of the tight end position.
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