The talk about the St. Louis Rams potentially drafting Notre Dame TE Kyle Rudolph will not stop. Is this a case of where there's smoke there's fire? Maybe, maybe not. In this post from yesterday we mentioned one source with some authority on the matter who told TST that the Rudolph idea wasn't out of the question. Regardless of whether its being thrown out there as a smoke screen, legitimate interest or just draftnik speculation, it's there...and it has the potential to be one of the surprise picks in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
Today, we get more Rudolph talk courtesy of Chad Reuter at NFL Draft Scout and CBSSports.com. Here's Reuter:
The combination of Rudolph's recent workout, a weak tight end class and a strong rookie year by New England's 2010 second-round pick Rob Gronkowski won't allow Rudolph to fall out of the top 25 picks. Also, the lack of a true first-round value at wide receiver increases Rudolph's value -- he could easily line up in the slot to stretch defenses down the seam and use his superior size to get open against nickel backs or linebackers.
The key here is the part about the lack of first-round receivers. Reliability and consistency have a place in the discussion. Rudolph isn't as complete of a receiver as Julio Jones, but he can provide a team with some versatility in their offense.
Another key point Reuter makes:
If the Rams, Dolphins or Giants decide not to select him, a team could rise up from the late-first/early-second (including Atlanta, if they value him that strongly) to secure his services.
Three teams, picking at 14, 15 and 19 all speculated as potential suitors for Rudolph. If there's enough buzz to get him up that high in the first round on the rumor mill, there could be enough buzz to lure a team into trading up to pick him in one of those spots.
In his chat with fans today, PD beat reporter Jim Thomas gave the Rams a 70 percent chance of trading down in the draft. This story just keep on getting more and more interesting, no?