The hype surrounding Evan Rodriguez started immediately after he was drafted and has grown ever since. The reason for the hype was simple immediately after the draft, an article emerged about who Rodriguez compares himself to, the answer was Aaron Hernandez a Pro Bowl TE for the Patriots.
The similarities are there both are short and athletic TEs who have shown some speed and athleticism.
The similarities end there, since Hernandez has made his mark in the NFL and Rodriguez barely made his mark at Temple.
To say that Rodriguez could be the next Hernandez is an insult to one's intelligence. The hype is simply a byproduct of the bloated carcass of the NFL draft where players are oftentimes sold as having far greater potential than they'll ever reach.
Rodriguez more than any other rookie drafted on the team is a victim of inflated talk.
Let's look closely at the facts:
Rodriguez is 6-foot-1 241-pounds and runs in the high 4.5 range, probably closer to 4.6 in pads. That's not elite size or speed for an NFL tight end, it's small and average for most TEs.
That's not a major match up problem for most NFL level strong safeties or linebackers. He's not taller than most linebackers nor faster than most safeties. So already he's at a disadvantage compared to most high level TEs.
Rodriguez also comes from a small school and a small conference. Most people talk about players developing their games in the SEC, Big-Ten Pac-12 or Big-12.
He cuts his teeth against the like of Buffalo, Ohio, Kent St. Army among others.
Currently Rodriguez is running fourth on the depth chart behind two established veterans and a second year UDFA who continues to impress.
Kyle Adams played at a high level during the 2011 preseason and is ahead of the rookie on the depth chart. Adams is a heady player who works hard and isn't about to give up his roster spot so easy.
Rodriguez at best is a bench warmer who will need to earn his spot by playing on special teams. His impact as a rookie will be minimal at best.
The bottom line is fourth round draft picks rarely make immediate impacts during their rookie years. Rodriguez's focus should be on making an impact where he can, on special teams and focusing on the future, rather than getting lost in the hype of the present.
Maybe he isn't going to be used as a true TE. He is a fullback hybrid that will block and catch out of the backfield. Bates runs shanahan's offense ,So he maybe used the same way Chris Cooley is. I personally don't want to see him lined up as a TE Because of his size and speed but as a FB. he would be the most athletic FB in league eventually.
I never quite understood why the Bears drafted him. I would have thought that as TE go, he doesn't fit. What was the spot in mind for him? I like a lot of other players much better then Rodriguez. How about that UDFA local boy. Lets just call him a TE and call it even.
@WayThompson He's a full back TE hybrid position in Tice's offense known as the F-back.
He's probably going to be the end supplanting fullback Tyler Clutts on the roster as the Bears will likely keep four TEs vs a true fullback.
Rodriguez is big for a fullback but small for a tight end. Can he do the job of a FB and be the same match up problem as a TE?
That's the question he has to answer, but the answer will likely come later on in his career rather than as a rookie.
Thanks for reading and posting your thoughts. I appreciate that.