04/29/2012 - A closer look at the Bears' picks: Round 4/111 - Evan Rodriguez, TE, 6-2, 244, Temple...Undersized, athletic pass-catching tight end had 35 receptions last season for 479 yards, averaging 13.7 yards per catch with two touchdowns. Started 28 games at Temple after transferring from West Virginia. Off-the-field issues. Arrested for assault in '07 and disorderly conduct in April '09. Good speed (4.56) and a natural pass catcher with good body control and smooth movement skills to adjust to the ball in the air. - The Sports Xchange
In high school Rodriguez was most fond of playing basketball, where he was a star, but was told he better enjoy football because that is where is future was. But the question was -- and remains -- where in football is his place?
In high school he played safety and quarterback. He first went to West Virginia where he redshirted as a freshman while coaches debated whether to play him at safety or tight end. Instead, he transferred to Temple, where he had to sit out the 2008 season then lined up at various receiver positions in 2009, but managed to make an impact as a physical special teams player.
The next year he started nine games at tight end and was suspended from one game violating team rules. In 2011 he started at tight end and continued to impress on special teams.
So his career totals included 69 catches for 871 yards with seven touchdowns. And there was one carry for one yard as a fullback. He was invited to the Scouting Combine as an H-back, where his toughness and receiving skills might best in the NFL.
However, for lack of anything more appropriate, he is listed by most teams as the top fullback prospect. And there, he is projected as only a fifth round prospect. No wonder he liked basketball.
Strengths: Good athlete with smooth body control and coordination. Has the short-area quickness to make moves in the open field. Displays good vision and feel as a receiver, tracking the ball well and showing very good field awareness. Possesses soft hands and good focus. A natural pass catcher who won't fight the ball. Physical at the point of attack and gives very good effort as a blocker, always looking for someone to hit. Tough and takes on contact well. Versatile with experience lining up as a lead-blocking fullback and on the line of scrimmage as a tight end. Can be used all over the field and also played on special teams coverage.
Weaknesses: Undersized and lacks ideal measureables, showing tweener traits. Doesn't have overwhelming strength and lacks much build or muscle definition. Not a sudden athlete and lacks ideal speed, struggling to separate in tight spaces. His blocking leaves a lot to be desired, lacking the power to create running lanes. Fails to square-up his target consistently and doesn't sustain blocks long enough, struggling with blocking angles. Raw as a route runner and is a bit stiff when trying to swiftly redirect his momentum. Needs to develop more of a finishing attitude to pick up as many yards as possible. A smaller target and allows too many balls into his body. Had only one career rush attempt at Temple with underwhelming overall production, finishing with only 7 career scores in 28 starts as a three-year starter. He was considered lazy and an underachiever his first three seasons in college.
NFL Comparison: James Casey, Houston Texans
-- Dane Brugler