One of the most surprising off-season signings for the New York Giants was tight end Kyle Rudolph, but after analyzing the details behind this pick up, it is clear the Giants view him as a versatile piece.
Not only is Rudolph capable of providing solid blocking in the run game, but he masks Evan Engram’s biggest efficiency, catching fastballs in the middle of the field on sit-down routes. However, Rudolph has spent the last 10 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, totaling 48 career touchdowns and a 68.1% catch rate. Rudolph hasn’t dropped a pass in two years, a statistic that Giants fans are likely smiling at.
Considering Engram dropped 11 passes last year and was correlated to six interceptions, adding a tight end who holds onto the ball adequately is a blessing. The transition for Rudolph will not be easy, though, having spent his entire career with one team before making the move to New York this off-season.
“You kind of feel like a rookie all over again,” Rudolph told Fox 9 Sports Now.
“It was when I was in the new facility in [New Jersey] for the first time,” Rudolph said. “Going into the building, being around new teammates, being around coaches… It’s one thing when you’re on Zoom calls and you’re learning that way, but actually being in the building — that’s when it really hit me that we’re doing this, we’re making a transition.”
Rudolph signed a two-year, $12 million deal with the Giants, but the team as a potential out in 2022 which would count $2.25 million in dead money. Essentially, the deal would equate to one year, $7 million, worst-case scenario. Rudolph brings plenty of tangible qualities that should impact the Giants positively during the 2021 season.
While Kyle is rehabilitating from a foot injury that should keep him out until the start of the regular season, he has been working diligently with trainers to improve his status as training camp nears. He is two years removed from posting 367 yards and six touchdowns with Minnesota.
The 31-year-old TE is an elite red zone threat at 6’6” and 265 pounds, now offering the Giants the tallest receiver they’ve had in years.
Rudolph’s impact will shade towards consistency as a security blanket for quarterback Daniel Jones, but he should open the field up for Engram up the seams and 10+ yards downfield. When looking at Rudolph’s reception depths from the 2020 season, the majority of his catches came in the 0-10 yard range from the line of scrimmage. Rudolph hauled in 20 catches for 201 yards in that range last year, accounting for over 60% of his receptions and total yardage. He landed a 75.7% catch rate, while Engram finishing the season at 57.8%.
Clearly, the veteran tight end will have a significant role this upcoming year, especially as coordinator Jason Garrett loves to utilize 12-personnel, indicating two tight ends on the field. They should provide support in the run game for Saquon Barkley while also allowing the play-action to be maximized with downfield threats like Engram, a Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, and Darius Slayton.