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Feeling Up Your Draft Picks 2011: Kyle Rudolph

With the 2011 NFL Draft officially in the books, it is now time to sit the new fresh meat down and POUND them for info on who the hell you are exactly. Today, we start with the Vikings second round pick, Kyle Rudolph, Tight End of out Notre Dame who, simple because of the school he went to, leaves me confident that he’ll become a caricature of a douche bag on this blog soon enough:

Real Name: Kyle Rudolph. No big surprise there. In my quick 30 second search I couldn’t find his nickname, although I assume it has to be something similar to Tommy, Sully, or Gilly, something stupid and Boston sounding, even though Rudolph was actually born in Cincinnati, Ohio. ….. Ew. I’m really not selling this pick so far.

Potential Nicknames: The Great White Dong, 6 Inches, The Reindeer, Hi Kyle, Not Tony Gonzalez, Notre Douche, and anything else you guys can come up with in the comments.

Three Smiles: The kid is something. Coming out of high school he was rated as the best tight end, and 20th best prospect in the country in 2008 by Rivals. That’s pretty good, particularly for a position that doesn’t really receive all that much attention. He ended up going to Notre Dame (BOOOO!) and became the only freshman at that school to start every game. I don’t know if that means anything, however, because I couldn’t name you a single other tight end in Notre Dame’s history, let alone any of them that are any good. Apparently the school is known for producing tight ends? Could’ve fooled me. They must have all drank themselves out of competition. Regardless, Rudolph did well there, averaging over 11 yards per reception in his career, a career long 95 yards catch, and probably would have averaged about 7 touchdown receptions per year if he would have stayed healthy (more on that in a bit). He was, without question, the top tight end prospect in the draft, so chances are we got someone real good at that position. Also, his combination of size and speed is pretty stellar. At six-six and 260 pounds, the guy might as well play left tackle for us, except that his hands are so good and he ran a damn 4.78 40 yards dash at his pro day. That’s pretty good for a guy that weighs one third of a tow truck.

No Smiles: How about the fact that his hamstring is about as stable as string cheese? And not good string cheese, we’re talking some of that Kraft shit that just falls apart at the lightest tug. It’s not even really cheese, obviously, but hardly even string, as it almost just dusts itself apart, if that’s even possible. Rudolph played only 6 games in 2010 because of this injury. He missed the NFL Combine because it still wasn’t healed, eight months later or whatever. He probably fell in the draft (harder than your mom?) because of concerns still about the injury. Oh … and in 2009 he only played in 9 games because of a shoulder injury. WHAT A PUSS BAG! Just kidding, but you’d be a dumbass not to walk away a bit concerned that he might get banged up and see limited time throughout his career. Hurray! Another injury prone second round pick!

How He’ll Fit It In: Rudolph has the benefit to come to the Vikings new offense, whatever that might be, and gain confidence as he learns behind two solid veterans in Visanthe Shiancoe and Jim Kleinsausage (assuming he actually makes the team out of potential-training camp! There’s a thought for ya!). Shanko can teach him some of the finer details of pass-catching (who ever would have figured that after his first year with the Vikings?) and Sausage can teach him the ins-and-outs of blocking. Then, when both of these dead weights leave after this season because their contracts are up (and Sausage decides to go cut trees down with his dick), Rudolph will be the big head-honcho tight end on the team in his second year, ready to take the world by storm! … I’m not sure where all of this leaves Jeff Dugan, who’s kind of a tight end at times although he’s listed as a fullback, but I could probably do without him. Unless he takes Tahi’s spot, then it’s totally cool.

Who We’ll Never Have to See Again: Well, I kind of just laid that out, but until right now I had never thought about the possibility of fully converting Dugan to fullback and cutting Tahi outright. That would be pretty fantastic. In the next year or so, I’ll be disappointed to see Shanko leave, if he in fact is not re-signed, and it’s always sad to see someone like Sausage leave. He’s been with the team for what seems like decades, and although I can’t remember a single thing he’s done, having him off the team will be like losing the fat friend that always helped take up space and win the ugly contest. Now it’s just EJ Henderson in the running for that award.

Overall Grade: People are split on this pick still, and I understand why. On one hand, Rudolph has all of these positives we’ve talked about, is a stud tight end that could probably BE a stud tight end for many years for us, and might drastically change what we can do on offense. Two tight end sets, tight end draws, two pass catching tight ends to the left side that can also run block and let Purple Jesus go wild? It sounds pretty endless. Having a stud tight end like this also really helps out a rookie quarterback, and could then potentially make Pondexter look better than he really is for a while. On the other hand, a tight end in the second round? That was like the least of my concerns in the draft. There was still start-able talent to be found in positions like safety, offensive and defensive line, cornerback and more. A tight end? Particularly one that has a hamstring injury that, even after the draft, is growing concern about how well it’ll heal? Well, this is just fantastic. Sure, we’d all like to see Kyle Rudolph turn into the next Tony Gonzalez after Musgrave gets his dirty little hands on him in this offense, but physically he might not be the same, and who the hell knows … he’s a rookie. Overall I like this pick and was wondering about the use of a young tight end for the Vikings well before the draft. Now that we actually have one with a offensive coordinator that know how to use them, the possibilities remain intriguing, like a good murder mystery, or trying to figure out how that stain got on my crotch. You get the idea.

Here’s a Funny Pick of Him, Maybe: