Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph leaves the school for the 2011 NFL Draft after his junior season and figures to be the first tight end chosen in April.
Rudolph is the only tight end in Notre Dame history to start the season-opener as a true freshman.
- Natural receiver and makes tough catches in traffic
- Tough after the catch
- Smooth, fluid runner
Size (6-foot-6, 265 pounds)
Top TE in the draft
- Dependable in clutch situations
- Respected in the locker room
- Plays well when flexed out wide
- High football IQ
- Injuries - has missed nine games in the last two years (shoulder surgery, hamstring avulsion); recovering from a detached hamstring
- Average blocker - needs to engage and sustain blocks longer, with better leverage
- Rounds too many routes - despite being smooth running free, he is not a natural route runner
- Sometimes drops easy catches
Expected draft placement
Rudolph is the best tight end in a weak class. He probably could have helped his draft stock somewhat had he chosen to return for his senior year. A talented receiver, Rudolph has what it takes to improve his blocking to become an all-around star at the position, assuming he can stay healthy.
The junior prospect probably won't go in the first round, but he should come off the board by the middle of the second. Teams that could consider him: Buffalo Bills (No. 34), Denver Broncos (No. 36, No. 46), St. Louis Rams (No. 47) and Jacksonville Jaguars (No. 49).
About Cory J. Bonini
Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.
Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.
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