Bucs Appear Serious About TE Kyle Rudolph

March 26th, 2011

NFL Draft guru Justin “The Commish” Pawlowski, of WDAE-AM 620, continues to work night and day on his must-read draft coverage on JoeBucsFan.com, and on the draft page at 620wdae.com.

The Commish talked to possible Bucs DE target Ryan Kerrigan yesterday, as well as tight end prospect Kyle Rudolph out of Notre Dame. Enjoy this story below, including audio of the Rudolph interview. (Kerrigan to come later.)

By JUSTIN PAWLOWSKI

One of the first moves Mark Dominik made as general manager of the Bucs was to trade for Kellen Winslow and make him the highest paid tight end in the NFL.  We’re not three years removed from that day, and the Bucs are interested in another highly touted tight end.

In my Friday interview with Rudolph, who is considered by many including myself to be the top tight end in the 2011 draft, said that the Buccaneers had genuine interest in him.

“I interviewed with the Bucs.  I really like coach Morris and our interview went really well,” Rudolph said.  “I loved his energy and enthusiasm for the game.  I would love to be a Buccaneer.”

Kellen Winslow Jr. is still under contract, but the depth behind Winslow is extremely shaky.  Jerramy Stevens finally wore out his welcome last season and was released, and John Gilmore is a free agent this off-season. Ryan Purvis could be the only depth behind Winslow. which is why the Bucs will be looking to add a tight end some time during this year’s draft.

Rudolph has the ability and talent to be an outstanding threat from the tight end position, but injuries have hurt him the past two seasons at Notre Dame.  He missed the second half of 2010 with a hamstring injury that required surgery. Rudolph says he is at 100 percent and will fully participate in Notre Dame’s April 7 pro day.

“It’s been a long time since I was able to go out and run around like my old self and I feel like I’m back to that point,” Rudolph said about his expectations for his pro day.  “I’m going to do every drill, run routes, and catch balls. I’m definitely excited for it.”

Rudolph’s pro day is as important as any pro day this offseason.  Without being able to workout at the combine, Rudolph has not been able to show off his full talent or show off that he is healthy.

Rudolph would not go into too much detail about future visits or workouts, saying that he is mainly focused on his pro day, and those arrangements would take place after that day.  However, he did confirm that the Bucs assured him they would be there.

Mark Dominik has warned that the Bucs might not be a lock for a defensive player in the first two rounds of this year’s draft. 

Continuing to gather more weapons for Josh Freeman will always be something this Buccaneer regime will look to do.  It should also be noted that Greg Olson, like Jon Gruden, runs a lot of 2-tight-end sets. Depth at that position is extremely important.

If the Bucs are indeed smitten with Rudolph, they might consider drafting him in the first round to secure him.  Waiting until the second round could be too late, considering that Rudolph should end up as a late first round or early second round pick.

Here’s the entire Kyle Rudolph interview:

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23 Responses to “Bucs Appear Serious About TE Kyle Rudolph”

  1. MOBucs Says:

    If Dom doesn’t make a play for one of the top DEs in this draft, I will be shocked and POed! A backup TE with the 1st pick would be absolutely silly!

  2. Gary Says:

    He can’t be thinking about this kid in the first right? It’s gotta be the second.

    If we are getting him for 2 TE sets he better be a good blocker. We don’t need two pass catching TEs.

  3. Brad Says:

    This guy will not be a first round pick.

  4. BigMacAttack Says:

    The Bucs still have Eric Lorig & Demar Dotson that are potential back up TE’s. I don’t think they need another Hammy to deal with on a top pick. Brian Price hopefully may become a great player, but last season was about as disappointing as it gets. I think Price actually hurt himself on the initial plane ride to Tampa and never recovered. DE, OL or LB is what needs to happen in the first 2 rounds.

  5. JDouble Says:

    Doesn’t make sense. He will be gone before we pick in the 2nd, he’s slow as hell and injury prone. I don’t get it.

  6. gruss222 Says:

    But, if Dom trades back in the first, gathering another 2nd and takes Rudolph in the late first it would be a value pick. Then use both 2nds to gain defensive players or package both to move up to the top of the 2nd for the player they desire.

    It’s a crap shoot at this point and not even Dom knows what may unfold before them come draft day.

  7. Macabee Says:

    According to another website, the Bucs are high on Nathan Overbay who is a decent receiver and a fierce blocker. He is likely to beat out Ryan Purvis for the final TE position and could eventually replace John Gilmore as the blocking TE. The Bucs really like Rob Housler, 6-5, 248, 4.46 from Fla Atl to replace Jeremy Stevens. He is projected to go 3rd or 4th round. By the way, the Bucs do not have a WR that can run a 4.4 forty.

  8. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    @Macabee — Let’s get real for a minute! The draft is one thing, but Joe doesn’t gush and overhype pros who haven’t done anything yet.

    Of course the Bucs like Overbay, otherwise he wouldn’t be on the roster. To say he’s a “decent receiver and a fierce blocker” is a stretch, since he has yet to play and he was an undrafted free agent.

    Let’s talk about Overbay after he looks good in training camp.

  9. Jo Mama Says:

    What does EF Hutton and Jo Mama have in common.

    When we speak, people listen.

    I took a lot of crap for being the first person to ever consider drafting someone on offense in the first round and even more crap to want to draft Kyle Rudolph a Tight End in the First Round with two prior injuries.

    It was 99.9% for Drafting a Run Stoping or Sack Specialist defensive player in the first two rounds.

    Now it seems that might not be the direction at all.

    There is a lot of Crow to be eaten.

  10. Architek Says:

    I think the point here is the Bucs are in a position to get whatever they want, which is cool to me. But reaching for a TE that he proved nothing and is injured is a bit crazy, BUT once again I get the big picture. The same thing applies to Romeus. He has been injury riddled and is still rehabbing from an ACL, why even risk it? Price should be a lesson, drafting a player that is injured and still rehabbing…His injury was a problem at UCLA.

  11. Macabee Says:

    Memo to all posters! Never refer to another website. It is the proverial “kiss of death”. I’ve learned my lesson the hard way!

  12. RastaMon Says:

    just listened to his interview on your show ….Jimmy Smith coming up next…he has been an intriguing thought player opposite to Talib
    ANYTHING but sloppy 5ths @ DE

  13. JDouble Says:

    Gruss…trading back and taking him late in the 1st would be high value? Please.

    Look, the truth is this dude is average. Last year you had 6 or 7 TEs that went in the 3rd round or later that project out better than Rudolph. Taking him in the first because this year’s TE class is weak is not good value.

    Taking a TE like Julius Thomas or Cameron Jordan in the later rounds would have 1000x the value. They both have more potential than Rudolph and could be had in the 3rd -5th round.

  14. Trox88 Says:

    @Rasta

    I agree with you. I would have no problem the Bucs drafting another position outside of the 5th or 6th DE. I would certainly trust Raheem and Jimmy Lake to spot elite talent at the CB position. I trust them if they draft Smith. I’m not so sure Biggers and Lewis will be elite.

  15. Pete Dutcher Says:

    @Jo Mamma
    I wouldn’t count chickens before the hatch. They are not going to spend a first round pick on the guy…not when he’s going to fall in the draft all the way to third round because of his history.

    The first rounder will either go to a Defensive End or an Offensive Lineman.

    This is what I said when the season ended and I have not changed my tune since. I also sid they would look for a tightend in the first 5 picks.

  16. Dave Says:

    Hate the idea. IF they want a TE grab one in the later rounds. This guy already has injury issues and the front 7 of the defense is PRIORITY ONE

  17. Dave Says:

    JO MAMA

    I’ll bet you a game ticket they will not take a TE in the first 2 rounds.

  18. Gavster Says:

    I would not mind a TE in the 1st or 2nd at all. It would open up our offense even more.

  19. Jo Mama Says:

    Dave,

    I was the First and Only person in the Country to demand that Kyle Rudolph should be drafted number one by the bucs….

    I got slammed on a daily basis on the 620 boards for such blasphmy….

    Now all of a sudden it’s the talk of the country…..

    How about someone get me a ticket for calling it back in January…

    Regardless if they draft him or not….to even have the powers that be even talk about it, is vindication enough.

  20. Dave Says:

    JO MAMA

    I’ll give you that. I did see you talking about a TE awhile back here and elsewhere. Kudos.

    I just disagree and don’t think it will come to fruition.

  21. Dave Says:

    Like I have said, you always need depth, and they will definately need someone to step up as a receiving TE SOON because of K2′s knees, but I think the front 7 on defense is more pressing right now.

    If they could get pressure on the QB from the edges AND have some LBs that could plug a hole, they are SB contenders NOW.

    The offense is going to get better for these simple reasons:
    - Freeman another year in the offense
    - Olsen another year of the offense
    - The O_line has depth no one knew it had last year
    - The WRs have depth no one knew they had
    - Blount is the man

    The only thing they really need on offense is a change of pace explosive back and maybe another OT, depending on what happens to Trueblood.

    The defense, however, NEEDS DEs. They NEED to get better at LB.
    - Hayes makes plays, but is inconsistent.
    - Black is average and Watson should take his job.
    - Ruud… is a hot button topic and I think McCkenzie and a rookie will be fighting for the starting job because Ruud probably takes more money and walks

    Hayes is proably the only starting LB to keep his job this year IMO.

    Doesn’t mean they don’t take a TE, I just can’t see it happening until the mid rounds or later.

  22. Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    I have to ‘give it up” for Jo Mama. He has been over on the message board saying what he says he says about Rudolph, and taking a lot of heat for it.

  23. gotbbucs Says:

    Jo Mama,
    I took some heat a couple years ago for calling the Aqib Talib pick before the season was even done. The big difference between my prediction and yours is that mine made perfect sense, and yours does not.
    There is no possible way that Kyle Rudolph is even close to being the 20th best player in the country.

 
 

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