NFL Rookie Watch: Kyle Rudolph
After flooring fans with their first pick, the Minnesota Vikings made another puzzling pick in round two, claiming Notre Dame's Kyle Rudolph. It wasn't that Rudolph wasn't worthy of the No. 43 selection -- many projected he could land at the end of round one -- it was just that no one imagined Minnesota would pick a tight end so early when the team seemingly had more pressing needs.
Durability was the biggest red flag raised by scouts, as Rudolph missed a total of 10 games in his final two seasons in South Bend. As for positives, Rudolph has ideal size (6-foot-6, 259 pounds) and was praised by former coaches for his character and locker room presence. "He's going to be a great value for the Vikings," Notre Dame's Brian Kelly told reporters in May. "... In a couple of years they're going to look back and say, 'We got a steal here.'"
Could be, coach, but what about right now?
Graham, like Rudolph, was added to a team with an established veteran; the Saints picked Graham in the third round last year, hoping he could grow behind Jeremy Shockey. But by season's end the two players had comparable numbers. Most of Graham's 31 catches came in November and December, and four of his five touchdowns came in the final three weeks of the regular season. His play made New Orleans' decision to part ways with Shockey in February an easy one. Rudolph could experience a similar transition to the NFL.
Unless Shiancoe suffers an injury or is let go before camp closes, Rudolph's time on the field will be limited, making him all but useless to fantasy owners in traditional leagues.
Mike Beacom is a contributing writer for FootballDiehards.com.