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First Round Prospects, Tight End: Kyle Rudolph, Notre Dame

In a week year for tight ends, Kyle Rudolph from Notre Dame is widely considered to be the top prospect around. While it is not an immediate need, there is some rationale to the belief the Jets would be wise to add a tight end. The team might lose production at the wide receiver position. Instead of adding another receiver as a replacement, another option is to let Jerricho Cotchery start and add a second receiving tight end with Dustin Keller. The Patriots showed how effective this can be in 2010 with their pair of rookies. If teams have trouble defending Keller, defending a second good receiver at the position will be very difficult.

Rudolph is a pretty good receiver. He was on his way to a big year before he tore his hamstring in 2010. He has soft hands and is adept at catching the ball in traffic. He has a good combination of size and speed at 6'6" and 260 pounds. He only ran a 4.78 40 at his pro day, but I think this is a case where the stop watch might lie. Rudolph plays faster, and he was overcoming that torn hamstring, which was enough of a problem to keep him out of the combine. He is also a pretty good blocking who works hard. With some work on technique from pro coaches, he could become very good in this area. He is also a smart route runner who is adept at finding holes in a zone or shaking a cover man.

One thing about Rudolph that is something of a concern is relative inexperience lining up inside at tight end. Both Charlie Weis and Brian Kelly loved to spread the field and split the tight end wide. In some ways, this experience would be a plus. However, it left him with less practice breaking jams at the line. Rudolph also is fast for a man of his size but not fast to get behind a defense as a deep threat.

I think Rudolph is a good prospect, but I do not like him on the Jets. First of all, I do not think he would be a good value pick. Due to the hamstring and 40 time, he seems like a decent bet to fall well into the second round. Since the Jets lack a second round pick, they would be best advised to trade back. Mainly, though, the thought of Brian Schottenheimer getting him scares me. I like the idea of adding another receiving threat at tight end, but Rudolph might be too much of a temptation. We would see Schotty coming up with all kinds of exotic formations and packages with yet another weapon in the passing game he could split wide or line up at tight end instead of keeping it relatively simple for Mark Sanchez.