His befriending of an autistic boy sitting alone in the cafeteria while he and his Florida State teammates were visiting a middle school will always be part of the legacy of Travis Rudolph. It was a heart-warming moment we can and should all learn from, and it makes him an easy player to root for. It will not, however, have any bearing on whether or not he wins a job with the New York Giants.
An undrafted free agent, Rudolph is one of several players bidding to find a place with the Giants on either the 53-man roster or practice squad. Let’s take a closer look at the 6-foot, 190-pound Rudolph as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the Giants’ 90-man roster.
2016 Season In Review
Rudolph had 56 catches for 840 yards (15.0 yards per catch) and seven touchdowns for Florida State. In 2015, his numbers were 59/916/15.5/7. He went undrafted largely because of less than desirable athletic traits for the wide receiver position, as shown by his spider chart:
Here is as assessment from Dane Brugler of CBS Sports in his 2017 NFL Draft Guide:
A three-year starter at Florida State, Rudolph lined up inside and outside for the Seminoles and did much of his damage out of the slot, leading the team in receiving each of the past two seasons despite streaky quarterback play. He utilizes his foot quickness and flexibility to snap off routes and set up double-moves downfield. Rudolph has some juice after the catch, but isn’t a burner and doesn’t have the body strength to break tackles. He allows throws to get on top of him and lacks the hand strength to be a reliable plucker, especially with crowded catch points. Overall, Rudolph is a nifty athlete and advanced route runner, but lacks ideal speed, play strength and consistency as a hands-catcher, three areas that could keep him from being anything more than a role player in the NFL.
2017 Season Outlook
If Rudolph is going to make the roster, he is going to have to show the Giants he is more than a slot receiver. The Giants have Sterling Shepard, Odell Beckham Jr. and rookie hybrid tight end Evan Engram who figure to dominate the time in that spot. Rudolph is going to have to show value as a special teams player to have a legitimate chance.
Rudolph was never asked to return kickoffs or punts for the Seminoles, but he spent time familiarizing himself with both of those roles during spring practice with the Giants.
“We're always trying to build a stable of guys back there. When you do get to the 46-man roster, you have one guy, that guy gets hurt, you need another guy to go in and it’s still critical to have the ball possession, be able to catch the ball and advance it,” special team coordinator Tom Quinn said. “Travis is very smart and he's very efficient with his movements. Probably more so than I thought when I watched him on tape. So, he's done a good job, he didn't really get the opportunity to return at Florida State but he's done a nice job for us up to this point.”
If Rudolph can show competence as both a receiver and returner his odds of sticking around, obviously, go up. Guys like Roger Lewis Jr., Tavarres King, Darius Powe, Kevin Norwood and Kevin Snead are also competing for jobs.
Can Rudolph earn a spot? No one knows that for sure. We do know, however, that he is a young man worth rooting for.