Mock draft 5.0: Falcons select Notre Dame TE Kyle Rudolph

Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph could be the heir-apparent to Tony Gonzalez at Tight End for the Falcons. (Associated Press)

Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph could be the heir-apparent to Tony Gonzalez at Tight End for the Falcons. (Associated Press)

BIRDLANDTony Gonzalez is not going to play forever.

This offseason he let the team know that he plans to return for the final year of his contract.

Should the Falcons take Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph?

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Later, he stated that if there is a long lockout that he’ll probably hang up his cleats.

Either way, the Falcons have to do something. They have to plan for the future. They have to get a tight end on board and they’ve been heavily scouting the position this offseason.

With the 27th pick, the Falcons will have a chance to address their needs at defensive end, tight end, cornerback and wide receiver.

But when Miami cornerback Brandon Harris is selected 26th by Baltimore, the Falcons will shift over to offense.

They could go with Ohio State defensive end Cameron Heyward or Georgia defensive end Justin Houston. But they know Miami defensive end Allen Bailey will still be available when they pick in the second around.

However, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll pick a wide receiver in the first round because there will be talented receivers in the second, third and fourth rounds. East Carolina wide receiver Dwayne Harris could be the team’s third round target.

Under this scenario, the Falcons will pull Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph’s name off their draft board in the first round.

Rudolph, who’s 6-foot-6 1/8 and 259 pounds, is widely considered the top tight end in the draft.

Some in Ohio want to check his decision-making for selecting Notre Dame over Ohio State. But he’s a Cincinnati kid and the Queen City is a longtime hotbed for Notre Dame, going back to the Gerry Faust days.

Now, Rudolph does have some health issues with his right hamstring. The Falcons will have that checked out.

Some other issues are starting to take shape as the draft gets closer.

Clemson defensive Da’Quan Bowers is slipping on most boards. He’ll likely fall out of the top 10 because teams are mixed on if he needs knee surgery. He’s dropping, but not far enough to get into the Falcons’ striking range.

LAST POLL RESULTS Should the Falcons take Cameron Heyward if he slips to the 27th pick in the draft?

  • Yes, Cam is a stud (47%, 489 Votes)
  • Maybe, if he’s a scheme fit (24%, 250 Votes)
  • Trade out of the first round and amass picks (19%, 195 Votes)
  • No, they should pick offense. (10%, 104 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,038

PROJECTED 2011 ATLANTA FALCONS DRAFT PICKS

Miami linebacker Marcus Robinson (56) and defensive lineman Allen Bailey (57) bring down Virginia Tech quarterback Sean Glennon in the second half. (By J. Pat Carter -- Associated Press)

Miami linebacker Marcus Robinson (56) and defensive lineman Allen Bailey (57) bring down Virginia Tech quarterback Sean Glennon in the second half. (By J. Pat Carter -- Associated Press)

First Round: 27 – Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame

Second Round: 59 –  Allen Bailey, DE, Miami

Third Round: 91  – Dwayne Harris, WR, East Carolina

Fourth Round: 124 – Akeem Dent, LB, Georgia

Fifth Round: 158 – Bilal Powell, RB, Louisville

Sixth Round: 192 – Pat Devlin, QB, Delaware

Seventh Round: 209 – Ricardo Lockette, WR,  Fort Valley State. 228 – D.J. Smith, LB, Appalachian State. 229 – Byron Maxwell, CB, Clemson.


AJC’s 2011 Mockiavelli 5.0

Staff writer D. Orlando Ledbetter projects the first round

Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton (2) throws a pass as Chattanooga's La'Nard Carr (96) moves in during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010, at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton (2) throws a pass as Chattanooga’s La’Nard Carr (96) moves in during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010, at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

1. Carolina: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn. The Panthers arrive at the conclusion that Jimmy Clausen is not their future franchise quarterback.

2. Denver: Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama. He’s a prototype defensive tackle. He should anchor the interior of the Broncos’ defense for years to come.

3. Buffalo: Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M. After whiffing on Aaron Maybin with the 11th pick in 2009, Chan Gailey gets a legitimate defender. They will be tempted to go with Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert, but will elect to get one of the developmental quarterbacks in the second round.

4. Cincinnati: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia. They can put and end to the T.O. and Chad Johnson madness. Perhaps this pick will be enough to encourage Carson Palmer out of selling his house.

5. Arizona: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri. Coach Ken Whisenhunt gets him a quarterback for an early Christmas present.

Alabama's Julio Jones (8) makes a catch for a touchdown as Georgia's Bryan Evans defends during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game in Athens, Ga., Saturday, Sept. 27, 2008. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Alabama’s Julio Jones (8) makes a catch for a touchdown as Georgia’s Bryan Evans defends during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game in Athens, Ga., Saturday, Sept. 27, 2008. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

6. Cleveland: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama. The Browns have to surround quarterback Colt McCoy with some weapons.

7. San Francisco: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU. He could take over as the 49ers’ press cornerback.

8. Tennessee: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn. Friend of the blog Tracy Rocker is Tennessee’s new defensive line coach. He coached Fairley at Auburn.

9. Dallas: Tyron Smith, T, Southern California. I think this is a reach for the Cowboys, by my folks in Dallas say this is how the Cowboys are leaning. He would help a line that must improve.

10. Washington: Cam Jordan, DE, California. Steve Jordan, his father, was a six-time Pro Bowler at tight end for the Vikings. He benefits from Bowers slipping.

11. Houston: Prince Amukamara,  CB, Nebraska. The Texans have to do something with their secondary.

12. Minnesota: Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas: The Vikings have to make a move at quarterback and they decide to roll

Arkansas' Ryan Mallet could be headed to the Minnesota Vikings. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)
Arkansas’ Ryan Mallet could be headed to the Minnesota Vikings. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

the dice on Mallett’s big arm. Former Falcons quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave might be the perfect person to handle this free spirit.

13. Detroit: Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson. The Lions decide to get some value. Once considered the top pick in the draft, Bowers’ stock is sliding because of a knee injury and poor Pro Day performance.

14. St. Louis: Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri. Smith could develop into a force in head coach Steve Spagnuolo’s system.

15. Miami: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama: The Dolphins look to improve their rushing attack. Ricky Williams isn’t getting any younger and Ronnie Brown will need some help.

FILE - This Nov. 7, 2009, file photo shows Duke quarterback Thaddeus Lewis (9) being sacked by North Carolina's Robert Quinn (42), left, and Zach Brown (47) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Chapel Hill, N.C., The NCAA declared defensive end Robert Quinn permanently ineligible, the team said Monday, Oct. 11, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)
FILE – This Nov. 7, 2009, file photo shows Duke quarterback Thaddeus Lewis (9) being sacked by North Carolina’s Robert Quinn (42), left, and Zach Brown (47) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Chapel Hill, N.C., The NCAA declared defensive end Robert Quinn permanently ineligible, the team said Monday, Oct. 11, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

16. Jacksonville: Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina. The Jaguars picked up Tyson Aluau last season and get a bookend for their 4-3 defense.

17. New England: Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College. The Patriots elect to get some protection for Tom Brady, who’s not getting any younger.

18. San Diego:  J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin. The former Badger who spent time in the programs at Western Michigan and Minnesota gets the best break in the draft. He gets to start his career in sunny San Diego after bumping around the upper Midwest and its bitter winters for the last few years.

19. New York Giants: Nate Solder, OT, Colorado. The Giants elect to bring in some offensive line help.

20. Tampa Bay:  Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue. The Bucs drafted defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Brian Price last season. This year they try to get some help at defensive end.

21. Kansas City: Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin. Projects as a right tackle in the NFL. He played left tackle for the Badgers. He claimed at the combine that he was the best tackle in the draft.

Gabe Carimi holding Paul Bunyan's axe after the Badgers beat Minnesota in 2009.
Gabe Carimi holding Paul Bunyan’s axe after the Badgers beat Minnesota in 2009.

22. Indianapolis: Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois. The Colts elect to get a disruptive force for the middle of their defense. He was a wrestler in high school.

23. Philadelphia: Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado. He is rugged with his hands in press coverage. He is a tall corner at 6-2 3/8. He has some character issues, but the Eagles believe he could flourish in the right environment.

24. New Orleans: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa. “Clayborn’s stock has dropped to a certain extent because of that arm situation,” ESPN draft analyst Kiper said. “He’s dropped to the late first round.”

25. Seattle:  Jake Locker, QB, Washington. He will get a chance to sit and watch Matt Hasselbeck for a year or two. Locker is athletic, but needs to work on his accuracy.

Georgia Tech Virginia Tech Football
Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech. (Associated Press)

26. Baltimore: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami. He was a three-year starter for the Hurricanes. The Falcons held a private workout for him in Miami.

27. Atlanta: Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame. The Falcons elect to get Matt Ryan some help for the future. If the lockout ends and Tony Gonzalez comes back, then Rudolph can learn under the future hall of famer.

28. New England: Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State. He’s a perfect scheme-fit for the Patriots 3-4.

29. Chicago: Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State. The Bears look to improve their offensive line play with this pick. Sherrod is athletic and could anchor the left side for the next decade.

30. New York Jets: Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia. The Jets are counting on Houston developing into a big-play artist.

31. Pittsburgh: Mike Pouncey, C, Florida. The twins get reunited in the Steel City.

32. Green Bay: Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech.  He’s a hard-charging runner, who’ll fit in the offense nicely.


ON THE FRINGE

Pittsburgh wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin, right, makes a catch for a first down over Notre Dame cornerback Darrin Walls in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Pittsburgh, on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2009. Pittsburgh won 27-22. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Pittsburgh wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin, right, makes a catch for a first down over Notre Dame cornerback Darrin Walls in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Pittsburgh, on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2009. Pittsburgh won 27-22. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Brooks Reed, DE, Arizona

Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor

Akeem Ayers , LB, UCLA

Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State

Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland

Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple

Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois

Aaron Williams, CB, Texas

Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh

Danny Watkins, OL, Baylor

Martez Wilson, LB, Illinois

Rahim Moore, S, UCLA

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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150 comments Add your comment

FEAR THE TALON

April 15th, 2011
5:46 am

FEAR THE TALON

April 15th, 2011
5:50 am

WE DON’T NEED NO STINKIN’ OPEN AIR STADIUM,ARTHUR!!! WE NEED TO JUST PLAY BALL!!!!

Not Rudolph!

April 15th, 2011
6:29 am

Arthur Blank will be on the field more than this guy. He misses about half of every season with an injury.

robert

April 15th, 2011
6:40 am

dont care who we pick as long as its a need and they can contribute right away

bat1994

April 15th, 2011
6:47 am

Let’s not do with Tony Gonzalez what the Packers did with Favre.

Paddy

April 15th, 2011
7:02 am

OK bye me if we pick a tight end.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 15th, 2011
7:34 am

THE EARLY POLL RETURNS: Should the Falcons take Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph?

* Yes, Rudolph is a stud (42%, 10 Votes)
* No, they should take Cam Heyward (29%, 7 Votes)
* No, they should take Justin Houston (25%, 6 Votes)
* No, they should take Maryland wide receiver Torrey Smith (4%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 24

suwaneefalcon

April 15th, 2011
7:36 am

Don’t like this pick in the 1st round D. We need a DE who can rush the QB and there are to many talented ones in the 1st round. Draft a TE in the 2nd or 3rd round.

suwaneefalcon

April 15th, 2011
7:38 am

Better recheck those numbers D. Has tightened up a wee bit.

Jimmy Jam

April 15th, 2011
7:41 am

DOL, please send this note to the owners…

To All NFL Owners:

Please keep the players Locked Out until pre season is over so FANS do not have to pay the owners full price to see practice games. In fact, LOCK the door and throw away the key until September.

RomeDawg

April 15th, 2011
7:46 am

Am I the only one who like Abraham, Anderson, Sidbury and Bierman as a set of defensive ends? I think Bierman could be on the brink of 10 sacks a year and Sidbury always looks good when he gets playing time. I know Anderson plays inside more now but he’s not half bad. He was just picked to highly in the draft. Rudolph has STAR written all over him. Ryan Williams, the running back from Virginia Tech, will be one of the premier players from this draft. He’s the real deal!

BigDawg

April 15th, 2011
7:46 am

With the defense still average at best why waste a pick on a TE? Get the defense up to at least the top 10 in the league before wasting offensive picks. Defense wins in the playoffs.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 15th, 2011
7:48 am

suwaneefalcon — All of the pass rushers are gone. Heyward’s more of a hold the point guy and Houston blows hot and cold. You can get a hot and cold DE in the second round. His name is Allen Bailey.

suwaneefalcon

April 15th, 2011
7:54 am

Good argument D but, I still would like the best defensive player available in the 1st round. That being said, you make a strong argument for Rudolph. I guess we will find out soon enough.

Mikefalcon63

April 15th, 2011
8:10 am

I say we go DE with that first pick if there are still 1st round ends on the board. Call me a homer, but I think Justin Houston could be a good pick here and is in the same mold as Abe.

1. Justin Houston
2. Randall Cobb (WR, UK) or Jerrel Jernigan (WR, Troy)
3. Virgil Green (TE, Nev)
4. Derrick Locke (RB, UK)
5. KJ Wright (LB, Miss St)
6. Jerrial King (OT, SC)
7a. Shaun Chapas (Fb, UGA)
7b. Taylor Potts (QB, Tex Tech)
7c. Joe Morgan (WR, Walsh)

The real GSU is in Statesboro

April 15th, 2011
8:11 am

Prince Amukamara will be a great pick for the Huston “Titans” at #11..just bustin your chops D haha

Aquigzz

April 15th, 2011
8:17 am

pass on rudolph, this virgil green guy from nevada looks like a stud and we can get him in the 3rd/4th round. Houston, Titus Young, Virgil Green thats how the first three should look.

Atticus

April 15th, 2011
8:24 am

You don’t draft backups in the first round when you are gunning for the SB. You draft a playmaker at either LB, DE or CB. WR is a stretch but he better be ready to mae an impact now. I like Allen Bailey, or Ryan Williams or Demarco Murray (sp?) and Randall Cobb later.

Andy

April 15th, 2011
8:49 am

Sorry dude, this could be a possibility, but after you had Robert Quinn falling to #27, I can’t take you seriously anymore.

You can’t put all your chips in one basket with Allen Bailey. Sure, he may be there in the second round, but what if he’s not? Our team’s largest need is DE and it’s the deepest DE draft in recent memory. I think we’d mess up by not taking the best one off the board at 27.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 15th, 2011
8:52 am

The real GSU is in Statesboro — I moved the Titans back to Houston. Should have called them the Oilers and gave them Earl Campbell.

Atticus
– Good points!

Andy — Thanks for checking in.

Mocking your Mock

April 15th, 2011
8:57 am

What have Notre Dame players done in the NFL in the past 10 years… Nothing! Defense, Defense, Defense. I don’t care what position, to be honest. We need playmakers on Defense. Say what you will about Houston, but he was never “Cold” on 3rd Down. The Falcons are “hot” on 1st and 2nd downs and nipple-piercing Cold on 3rd down last year. Get a pass rusher or a damn good corner, period. (I think TD will trade out of the first round.)

The Real Falcon

April 15th, 2011
9:02 am

No and none of the others above!

The Real Falcon

April 15th, 2011
9:03 am

The only real thing about a GSU in Statesboro is the drinking.
GO PANTHERS!!

Outside Observer

April 15th, 2011
9:04 am

Bailey might not be the only solid DE on the board for our second round pick. Sam Acho will likely be there as well. Senior, captain, academic-heisman, top producer for their defense. He is a Falcon if there ever was one.

jarvis

April 15th, 2011
9:07 am

GSU smack talk.

Van Brocklin

April 15th, 2011
9:10 am

Tight End Junior Miller made an impact for the Falcons in 1980,
then faded away.

Justin Houston is way over-rated.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 15th, 2011
9:19 am

Mocking your Mock — I think my buddy Derrick Mayes was the last Notre Dame stud, until they got fed up with him in Green Bay. That’s back in the 90s somewhere.

KD

April 15th, 2011
9:26 am

There is now way the Falcons draft ends up like that D! That’s waaayyyyy too many GA guys for the birds to pick in one draft. Don’t get me wrong, I like the way you have it going but I can’t believe it will actually happen.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 15th, 2011
9:33 am

KD — I feel you on that. But TD told me yesterday that GA local day was the best since he’s been here. I’m thinking that he’s going to take some of the homegrown talent.

Marcus

April 15th, 2011
9:38 am

DOL,
If that happens ………. it would seem that WE would be the team that has one of those annual NFL head-scratchers …K. Rudolph fits a future (near-term) need …….. but it ain’t the one to take us to the next level or address our most pressing need to get us deeper in the playoffs. Probably up for raging debate by fans and experts if it happens ….

Mocking your Mock

April 15th, 2011
9:41 am

DOL

It was so long ago, that I don’t even remember him!

Riddle me this… I know teams cannot trade players until the brat fight is over, but can they swap draft picks and/or drafted players since they are not under contract yet?

I think there is going to be alot of movement in the first 4 rounds. Write that down.

Mocking your Mock

April 15th, 2011
9:43 am

I can’t remember the back end of the first round was so questionable. This leads me to believe that the 2nd and 3rd round is full of sleepers.

Andy

April 15th, 2011
9:46 am

Sorry if I was too harsh, but it appears to me that what you WANT to happen has biased some of your mocks. Perhaps I’m wrong.

With all of the mid-round tight ends that made an impact last year (Moeaki, Hernandez, Gronkowski, Hoomanawanui, Quarless), I think we can hold off for a solid guy like Virgil Green, especially since we’re not looking for a rookie to start righty away. Brooks Reed could be another guy who enters the DE conversation. If I’m not mistaken, Todd McShay has us taking him in his latest mock.

Sid

April 15th, 2011
9:46 am

I’m pretty sure Buffalo takes a QB Darrell.

Dave

April 15th, 2011
9:49 am

In your mock you have Pouncey available I don’t see that happening, but if he was we have an old center and two guards that may or may not be resigned. It would seem to me Pouncey who could help if we lose these players he could be picked just based on value to play multiple positions. I would be ok with Rudolf you can’t fix everything in one year and getting a TE who would make us like the Patriots this year in that we could use multiple TEs on most downs which would help make our running game better when we ran the ball. We have a number of needs we need to get a premium player at a position of need and Rudolf would be one of the players you would have to look at.

PMC

April 15th, 2011
9:50 am

Isn’t Rudolph pretty slow for a 1st round pick? I’m not sure a TE is warrented in this draft, weak year for TE’s

No clue

April 15th, 2011
9:53 am

TD will screw it up as usual.

Go Falcons

April 15th, 2011
10:20 am

Justin Tuck is pretty good. He’s a Domer. Also they have produced good tight ends in Anthony Fasano and John Carlson, both starters in the NFL. Rudolphs measurables are better than both.

Rikus

April 15th, 2011
10:23 am

Guys I would rather see the Falcons pick, that were still available in your mock:
Justin Houston
Brooks Reed
Torrey Smith
Jonathan Baldwin

Waiting on a guy like Virgil Green seems like a much better value than a 1st round TE.

enz

April 15th, 2011
10:29 am

Rudolph is the next Jerious Norwood…Never healthy…
Get the best DE available…

Joe Tess Fish House

April 15th, 2011
10:34 am

Flacons need help on defence.

joe

April 15th, 2011
10:39 am

Cam Heyward is the second coming of Jamal Anderson ( nice guy, limited talent) if someone takes him in the first round they haven’t done their homework…..

james

April 15th, 2011
10:42 am

Not sure about drafting a tight end when there are some holes to fill on defense. What’s the story with Michael Palmer. I thought he played well enough to be considered a future starting TE?

The Faithful

April 15th, 2011
11:02 am

I think we will go defense. That is/was the most glaring weakness that we had.

Later rounds we can add some offensive help such as Virgil and a wide receiver to develop.

With some luck pick up a speed guy that can catch the ball out of the back field.

The team is almost there and these picks will be ones that push us over the top or make us a flop.

Birdman

April 15th, 2011
11:06 am

DTroff and crew believe we are on the verge of breaking through, thus our 1st rounder will be a player that will project to start from day 1 and make an impact. Yes Tony G is at the end, but as long as he is healthy, nobody is taking snaps away from him, nobody.

So we may draft a TE, but not before round 3. My prediction, like many others believe, is he trades back into the top of the 2nd and selects the best DE left, maybe Allen Bailey. Then with an extra number 2 he takes an impact WR or RB. Rounds 3 or 4 will include an OT for sure.

gcs

April 15th, 2011
11:12 am

Did you people NOT see the playoff game??? The Falcons need defense.

UGADAWG

April 15th, 2011
11:15 am

Houston is getting a bad name for being hot and cold. He is not an OLB. He is a beast at DE. He would be a great pick for the Falcons and would help our DL tremendously

Birdman

April 15th, 2011
11:16 am

From the GB game its clear we need to learn how to tackle the qb. We were in the backfield all night, running like kamikazes that meant a sidestep or simply ducking left that player out of position. Which meant Rodgers had all day to throw and he was on top of his game. So the D, while needy for sure, is not as bad as we saw. Still, we will draft defense first 100%, not a future starting TE in the first, not going to happen. Time is now to win. get an impact defensive player if at all possible.

Mazzetti's Toe

April 15th, 2011
11:45 am

Beware of ND tight ends. Randy Cross tells a funny story about the year the 49er’s drafted Ken McAfee of ND with their 1st pick. During workouts, all the OL beat him in the 40. It became their big joke. McAfee was a huge bust.

Mudcat

April 15th, 2011
11:59 am

We need to stop using our 1st round picks on guys who end up spending so much time on the IR. Please!