2012 Rookie TEs: Evan Rodriguez, Chicago Bears
By Matt Waldman
Posted July 15th, 2012

Strengths: Rodriguez is a versatile player capable of playing fullback, H-Back, or split away from the formation as a receiver. He's undersized for a primary in-line tight end, but he has the physical attitude to develop into a passable NFL run blocker at the line of scrimmage in a scheme that uses him wisely. Rodriguez has a taste for hitting and plays until the echo of the whistle as a blocker, receiver, and ball carrier. He has enough speed to stretch the intermediate seam, and the Bears recognize this enough to declare him the vertical option among the tight ends in its offense.

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Weaknesses: The Temple offense used Rodriguez on a lot of screen passes, but he wasn't targeted frequently in tight coverage and is untested in this aspect of receiving. He's not big enough to handle bigger defensive ends or linebackers, so he'll have to prove he can work off the jam. If he displays the intensity in Chicago that he did at Temple, he might endear himself to teammates but go overboard against the competition. It's worth monitoring if he plays too far over the edge.

2012 Outlook: New offensive coordinator Mike Tice is a former tight end for the Minnesota Vikings, and its likely the Bears coach will employ more two-tight end sets in 2012 to improve pass protection and enhance the ground game. If this is the case, Rodriguez will be moved around the formation earn the benefit of single coverage matchups. He's not worth drafting at this point, but monitor what happens in training camp because, at the very least, he'll be a top-priority player watch for waiver wire consideration early in the season.

Dynasty Outlook: Rodriguez is worth a late-round pick in a deep dynasty league, possibly a little earlier in leagues that give scoring bonuses to tight ends. He's a wait-and-see player, but one with good athletic potential that can be dumped without much pain at the place he's getting drafted.

NFL Comparison: Rodriguez has skills after the catch that reminds some of Aaron Hernandez, but he's not on the level of athleticism and skill as a runner. The Bears rookie has athleticism more akin to Chris Cooley or Charles Clay, which is good enough for fantasy production, but not elite-tier, match-up nightmare material.

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