NY Giants’ Kyle Rudolph could prove critical to Daniel Jones’ development
Kenny Golladay’s addition grabbed the headlines, but the NY Giants signing Kyle Rudolph might have the biggest impact on Daniel Jones’ development
Kenny Golladay‘s signing grabbed all of the March NY Giants headlines, and for good reason, after general manager Dave Gettleman finally delivered quarterback Daniel Jones a true game-breaking wide receiver ahead of his third NFL season.
In what could prove to be a make-or-break campaign for Jones to prove he can develop into a legitimate franchise quarterback and lead the Giants back to the postseason for just the second time in a decade, adding Golladay, Kadarius Toney, and John Ross will certainly help evaluate and set the young passer up for success.
But, the addition of veteran tight end Kyle Rudolph might actually make a more significant impact on Jones’ development, even than the high profile pickup of Golladay.
Pairing a young quarterback with a reliable tight end is nothing new, in terms of rebuilding philosophy across the NFL.
The Philadelphia Eagles had Zach Ertz and Brent Celek in place when Carson Wentz arrived as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Kansas City dropped Patrick Mahomes into an offense that included All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce. Tom Brady perpetually saw elite tight end play throughout his career from the likes of Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. Philip Rivers cut his teeth in San Diego throwing the perennial All-Pro Antonio Gates.
Such pairings of tight ends and quarterbacks could fill a book.
How NY Giants’ Kyle Rudolph can make biggest impact on Daniel Jones
It seemed the NY Giants had hoped that Evan Engram would prove to be that security blanket for Jones, but even en route to making his first career Pro Bowl and staying healthy for 16 games, Engram was still charged with eight drops and Jones struggled to get him the ball in space.
While Engram averaged 10.4 yards per reception in 2021, Jones’ passer rating when targeting him was a meager 59.
One of the more reliable red zone targets in the entire league, with 40 of his 48 career touchdowns coming inside the 20-yard line, he’s also a quarterback’s best friend.
Last season, Vikings quarterbacks had a 116 passer rating when looking Rudolph’s way.
Rudolph caught 28 of his 35 targets for 334 yards and a touchdown in 2020, so his presence in the offense both in two-tight end sets and pushing Engram could level up the NY Giants’ vertical passing game.
There’s no question that Golladay’s ability to pull down contested catches, command attention of opponents’ top cornerbacks and stretch the field will open up opportunities for the rest of Jones’ supporting cast.
But, if Jones takes the kind of leap in Year three that most quarterbacks do in their second, and the NY Giants believe he can, the addition of Rudolph could prove to be a significant reason why.
Matt Lombardo is FanSided’s National NFL Insider and writes Between The Hash Marks each Wednesday. Email Matt: Matt.Lombardo@FanSided.com, Follow Matt on Twitter: @MattLombardoNFL