Posted on: August 20, 2011 11:35 pm
Edited on: August 21, 2011 12:15 am
I will be blogging live from the press box tonight from Seattle for the Seahawks-Vikings preseason game. My goal is to give readers some insight as to how some of the rookies and perhaps other young players for both teams performed.
Earlier I posted some thoughts based on how several of the Seahawks' rookies performed throughout the first half. This post will focus on the Vikings' rookies, especially quarterback Christian Ponder and tight end Kyle Rudolph.
Ponder showed some mobility in escaping the rush, but was the proverbial deer caught in the headlights, at times. He was willing to step up in the pocket in the face of pressure and kept his eyes downfield, completing a nice pass to Juaquin Iglesias to extend a drive early. The Vikings ultimately kicked a field goal on the drive. Ponder did not challenge the defense on anything longer than 10-15 yards.
Ponder's mobility and experience in a pro-style offense made him very effective on play-action bootlegs. He showed the ability to throw on the move, but picked up the majority of his yardage from these plays with his legs, often surprising Seahawk defenders with his speed.
He was inconsistent with his accuracy, forcing receivers to adjust often. Ponder did throw a nice back shoulder fade to Devin Aromashodu in the early 3rd quarter. His moderate height (6-2) was an issue on a few plays, as he had a couple of throws tipped and/or knocked down at the line of scrimmage.
Rudolph had a bit action his way in the first half (three catches for 22 total yards). He was targeted on three consecutive throws from Ponder as the half was coming to a close. He caught two of them as Seattle dropped coverage to protect deep, giving up underneath routes. The first catch was the tougher one, coming directly at his face mask as he turned to look for the ball. He got his hands up quickly, secured the catch and attempted to turn upfield before being ridden out of bounds. Rudolph did a nice job of gaining a clean release and showed some burst out of his breaks to gain freedom from defenders. He did not show much in terms of straight-line speed, however, on the few plays where he was allowed to run longer routes. Rudolph has good size and strength as a blocker. While he was unable to knock defenders off the ball, he did show some competitive fire in locking onto his target and turning to seal the defender.
Posted on: April 22, 2011 1:00 pm
St. Louis Rams 2010 record: 7-9, second place NFC West
2011 draft rundown Seven total picks (round): 14 (1); 47 (2); 78 (3); 112 (4); 145 (5); 216 (7) 228 (7)
Wide receiver: The arrival of Josh McDaniels as offensive coordinator seemingly makes it likely that more playmakers would be added. Complicating the situation are injury issues facing Donnie Avery, who missed the entire 2010 season with a knee injury, Mark Clayton, who missed the final 11 games with a knee injury and is a free agent, and Danario Alexander, who had had five surgeries on his left knee. McDaniels has been successful in the past without what would be considered elite pass-catchers.
Safety: James Butler has been a disappointment in his two seasons with the team, and Craig Dahl is a solid backup, but shouldn't be a starter. What's needed at the position is an all-around player that can be a tough run-stopper and defends the pass. With Oshiomogho Atogwe having signed with Washington, an obvious replacement is needed. There are only three safeties currently on the roster: Dahl, James Butler and Darian Stewart
Running back: The search continues for a viable and productive back behind Steven Jackson. The ideal would be a complement to Jackson, who could keep defenses honest with the ability to get to the edges consistently.
Guard: The Rams had their best success running the ball last season when John Greco was sharing time with Adam Goldberg at right guard. But because of some injuries at tackle, the Rams had Renardo Foster active instead of Greco for the final eight games of the season. The running game suffered as Goldberg had to play virtually every snap.
First-round focus 14th overall -- The St. Louis Rams would love to see a playmaking wide receiver like Alabama's Julio Jones somehow slip to them, but that isn't likely to happen. There are some rumblings throughout the league that if the team isn't able to get a speedster to take advantage of Sam Bradford's arm, the Rams might reach a bit to draft Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph, who could become the security blanket in the middle many teams like to provide their young, developing signal-callers. The Rams have also shown a great deal of interest in adding a running back to take some of the burden off of Pro Bowler Steven Jackson and could surprise with Mark Ingram. Depth at the position and greater needs elsewhere, however, make this unlikely. A more likely scenario might have the Rams looking to address the need for more youth, playmaking ability on the defensive line. Head coach Steve Spagnuolo deserves a great deal of credit for piecing together a productive defensive line last year largely with duct tape, but might have a hard time passing up a stout defensive tackle like Illinois' Corey Liuget or a pass rusher such as Missouri's Aldon Smith, should either be available at No. 14.
Five names on Rams' board:
WR Julio Jones, Alabama
DT Corey Liuget, Illinois
DE Aldon Smith, Missouri
RB Mark Ingram, Alabama
TE Kyle Rudolph, Notre Dame
Posted on: April 7, 2011 2:04 pm
Edited on: April 7, 2011 2:06 pm
According to a source on the scene, Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph was clocked at 4.78 seconds in the 40-yard dash at his Pro Day workout Thursday.
The time will be considered by some to be a disappointing one, considering that Rudolph is viewed as the unquestioned top prospect at his position. As a comparison, nine of the 17 tight ends invited to the Scouting Combine were timed faster in the event.
Though the 40-yard dash time wasn't impressive, it is in line with the straight-line speed (or rather lack thereof) shown by Rudolph on tape.
This isn't to say that I don't believe Rudolph can be an effective player. At 6-6, 259 pounds, Rudolph is an all-around tight capable of making an impact as a receiver and blocker. He is not, however, an explosive player. As I've noted previously , some of his production while at Notre Dame has to be attributed to the wide open offenses instituted by former head coach Charlie Weis and current Notre Dame head coach, Brian Kelly.
His speed is very similar to those run by Zach Miller, John Carlson, Brandon Pettigrew, and others picked in the top 40 in recent drafts at the position.
There's no reason to believe his stock will greatly increase or decrease based on today's workout--through just seeing him perform drills and run routes will ease scouts' minds. A solid medical report from the re-checks in Indianapolis is another key factor in his final grade.
Rudolph's Pro Day workout is critical to his final draft grade because he was unable to participate at the Combine due to his recovery from surgery to repair the torn hamstring that cut short his junior season.
NFLDraftScout.com will keep you updated on Rudolph and other Notre Dame players as their results from their Pro Day come through.
Senior Analyst Chad Reuter contributed to this report.
Posted on: April 3, 2011 12:10 pm
The Pro Day "season" is coming to a close, but not before two of the more intriguing skill position talents get their chance to work out for scouts.
Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph , NFLDraftScout.com's top rated player at the position , will be among the former Irish players working out on campus this upcoming Thursday, April 7. Unlike many of this year's tight end prospects, at 6-6 and 259 pounds, Rudolph has the size to compete as a blocker, as well as be a security blanket over the middle.
Teams do have questions about his straight-line speed and upper body strength, however, making his Pro Day workout an important element to determining his final grade.
Rudolph missed the final seven games of his junior season after surgery to repair a hamstring avulsion (muscle tears off the bone). As such, he was unable to work out at the Combine.
Though Rudolph has the bigger name, there could wind up being just as many top decision-makers at Eastern Washington running back Taiwan Jones ' Pro Day a week later.
Unlike the Notre Dame Pro Day, in which Rudolph will be sharing the spotlight with underrated defensive tackle Ian Williams, among others, scouts will be coming to see just Jones at his April 14 workout.
Jones' workout, rather than be scheduled at EWU's campus in the tranquil but remote setting of Cheney, Washington, will take place at Los Medanos Junior College in Antioch, Calif ornia.
Though most athletes choose to work out at their school, prospects do have the option of working out in their home states. Jones was raised in Antioch.
Jones is NFLDraftScout.com's No. 9 rated running back. Some teams view the 6-0, 194 pound Jones as a possible converst to cornerback or wide receiver. Jones has struggled with durability throughout his career and has electric speed. As this video suggests , he may wind up being the fastest player in the 2011 draft.
There are 26 NFL teams already scheduled to attend his workout April 14. Jones will be doing all of the measureable drills and may be asked to do positional drills at running back, receiver and cornerback.
Posted on: March 11, 2011 2:02 pm
Kyle Rudolph, the consensus top tight end prospect of the 2011 draft, has healed from the torn hamstring that sidelined him for much of the 2010 season and will be working out for scouts at Notre Dame's April 7 Pro Day, according to a report.
Eric Hansen of the WSBT South Bend Tribune quotes Rudolph as saying, "I finally feel back to my old self, maybe better. I feel that I have the explosiveness back that I used to have. I don't feel the pain anymore. I've gotten my stride back."
Rudolph, NFLDraftScout.com's No. 37th rated player overall , has the physical skills to translate well to the NFL. At 6-6, 259 pounds, the Irish junior has the bulk scouts are looking for in a traditional tight end and Hansen cites sources close to Rudolph who expect him to run in the "neighborhood" of the 4.6s at the workout. The Pro Day workout will be critical to Rudolph's final NFL grade. He wasn't able to work out at the Combine.
While possessing the physical tools to be successful, Rudolph was not particularly productive for the Irish. In three seasons, Rudolph posted the numbers that some of the other top tight ends of the 2011 draft class may have put up in one year (90 catches for 1,032 yards and 8 touchdowns). His sophomore season was his most productive one. Despite missing two games with a shoulder injury, Rudolph caught a career high 33 passes for 364 yards and three touchdowns in 2010.
Scouts love his upside but are worried about his durability. Rudolph has missed nine games over the past two seasons due to the shoulder and hamstring injuries. He was forced to undergo surgery to re-attach his right hamstring, after the muscle and surrounding tendons were ripped from the bone in the fourth game of the year (Stanford).
Posted on: December 31, 2010 12:37 pm
Edited on: December 31, 2010 12:39 pm
In today's era of corporate sponsored bowl games often pitting "small school" teams, there is something refreshing about the Miami/Notre Dame matchup in this afternoon's Sun Bowl.
The Hurricanes and Fighting Irish have obviously had their on and off-field struggles this year. Randy Shannon's firing and the tragic death of Declan Sullivan, the Notre Dame student killed while attempting to film Irish practices, have dominated the headlines.
For NFL scouts, however, the story remains the same. Miami and Notre Dame, as always, feature plenty of NFL talent.
In fact, one of the most intriguing one on one matchups of the bowl season will be on display when Hurricane cornerback Brandon Harris and Irish wideout Malcolm Floyd, a pair of first round caliber juniors, face off.
They may be the most entertaining matchup, but there is plenty of other prospects to keep an eye on. The following is the list of top prospects in today's game to focus on, courtesy of my fellow Senior Analyst Chad Reuter.
--Notre Dame DT Ian Williams (6-2, 305, 5.17): The wide-body nose tackle has missed the last four contests but expects to suit up in his last college game.
--Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd (6-3, 228, 4.52): If his leg is healthy and he's on the same page as freshman QB Tommy Rees, Floyd will use his big body against fellow junior prospect CB Brandon Harris.
--Notre Dame TE Kyle Rudolph (6-5, 265, 4.64): A hamstring tear ended Rudolph's season early and he won't be on the field today, but the junior could wind up as the first tight end drafted, whether he elects to leave school early this year or return for his senior campaign.
--Miami (Fla.) DE Allen Bailey (6-4, 285, 4.79): Excellent athlete who flashes pass rush (seven sacks) across from junior DE Adewale Ojomo, but needs to have a consistently strong effort against an average Irish line to impress scouts.
--Miami ILB Colin McCarthy (6-2, 240, 4.67): Heady, versatile, productive (106 tackles, 10 for loss) player scouts believe can play inside or on the strong side at the next level.
--Miami WR Leonard Hankerson (6-3, 208, 4.52): Tall strider who can stretch the field, but faces a strong corner in Notre Dame's Darrin Walls.
--Miami LT Orlando Franklin (6-7, 315, 5.30): Impressive just stepping off the bus, if Franklin's footwork begins to match his strength, he could become a starting NFL left tackle.
--Miami CB Brandon Harris (5-11, 195, 4.45): A highly touted prep prospect, Harris has emerged as the latest in a long line of Miami defensive backs worthy of first round consideration. Only a junior.
This game begins at 2pm EST and will be televised by CBS.
As always, for the best in NFL draft coverage, check out NFLDraftScout.com.
Posted on: October 14, 2010 1:49 pm
Notre Dame junior tight end Kyle Rudolph will undergo season-ending surgery Friday to repair his hamstring.
The surgery is a significant one. Rudolph, who had been gutting it out by playing through a pulled hamstring originally injured over the summer, had the tendons in his right leg snap, separating the muscle from the bone against Pittsburgh, Saturday.
Though only a junior, Rudolph is widely considered to be among the top eligible tight end prospect in the country. The injury and resulting surgery, however, could put a damper on any plans that the 6-6, 260 pounder had on entering the NFL draft after this season. Rudolph's rehabilitation is expected to last six months, meaning that he may not be able to fully workout for scouts prior to the draft.
As alarming as that might be for scouts, Rudolph's ability to impact the game stands out on film. It should also be noted that the two tight ends selected highest in last year's draft -- Jermaine Gresham and Rob Gronkowski -- each missed the entire 2009 season prior to being selected with the No. 21 and No. 42 overall picks of last April's draft, by the Bengals and Patriots, respectively.
Should he elect to leave school early for the draft, scouts have plenty of film on Rudolph. A standout since taking over for John Carlson (now a starter for the Seattle Seahawks), was on pace to shatter his previous career highs in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns.
Through six games this year, Rudolph had caught 28 passes for 328 yards and three touchdowns.
He has caught 90 passes for 1,032 yards and eight touchdowns for his career.