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Rudolph’s bumpy road to NFL likely ends tonight

Apr 28, 2011, 11:37 AM EST

Rudolph

After a final season at Notre Dame that went anything but according to plan, tight end Kyle Rudolph will likely hear his name announced tonight in the first round of the NFL Draft.

The junior from Cincinnati only lasted through six full games of the 2010 season, as a nagging hamstring tweak suffered during preseason camp turned into a season ending injuring in mid-October, forcing the Irish to play without one of their best weapons for the final seven games of the season.

After major surgery and six months of rehabilitation, Rudolph was back on the field at Notre Dame, working out with his teammates during the Irish’s annual Pro Day audition for NFL scouts.

NFL.com has a nice feature on Rudolph’s rehabilitation process in episode ten of their “Everything to Prove” series, leading into the NFL Draft. It chronicles Rudolph’s rehabilitation process as Kyle prepped for the draft in Southern California and reminds you just how impressive Rudolph is as a physical specimen.

Kyle might be up late tonight, as most analysts peg him as a late first-round pick if he goes at all in tonight’s festivities. He’d be the first Irish player taken in the first round since Brady Quinn went 22nd overall to the Cleveland Browns in 2007.

It’s been mentioned here before, but if any set of Notre Dame position players seems to get respect in the NFL Draft, it’s at tight end. Since 2005, the Irish have had Jerome Collins (5th round), Anthony Fasano (2nd round), and John Carlson (2nd round) all get picked, a trio matched only by guards Dan Stevenson, Dan Santucci, and Eric Olsen — all three late round picks.

With Ian Williams likely next off the board for the Irish and Darrin Walls and Armando Allen potentially late round picks, Charlie Weis’ heralded recruiting classes take another hit in hindsight, with Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate the only Irish athletes recruited under Weis to hear their names called early, and neither becoming the first round picks that they expected to become.

It’ll likely be up to Rudolph (or potentially Michael Floyd and Manti Te’o down the road) to finally crack a first round ceiling that hasn’t happened since Quinn’s 2007 freefall.

  1. oldestguard - Apr 28, 2011 at 1:22 PM

    His best days are ahead of him….and the Irish faithful will be pointing to him proudly for many years to come.

    Good luck to all the ND guys over the next few days !

  2. scardino - Apr 28, 2011 at 6:20 PM

    There’s just something about Kyle Rudolph that makes me think that any team that grabs him will be very happy that they did.

  3. whisk3yjack - Apr 28, 2011 at 8:15 PM

    So you think there’s a better than 50/50 chance that Rudy goes in the 1st round, Keith? That puts you in a pretty small minority, but I hope you’re right. We haven’t had a 1st rounder since Brady Quinn in 2007.

  4. jerseyshorendfan1 - Apr 28, 2011 at 10:30 PM

    Hey Keith, what’s all this about Tim Prister talking some smack about you? Like you can’t have an opinion? Is it just that he thinks he should’ve been on camera at the BG game?

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