Martin Rucker Scouting Report
|Height & Weight:||6'6 - 255 lbs.|
2008 NFL Draft Prospect Scouting Report:
Martin Rucker, TE, Missouri
Rucker could have entered the 2007 draft after a successful junior campaign, but chose to return for his senior year and it's paid off big time. He has been a Heisman Trophy candidate and Chase Daniel's most reliable target this season, catching 75 passes for 739 yards and eight touchdowns and has had an excellent four-year career at Missouri - 194 catches, 2,080 yards, and 18 touchdowns. USC's Fred Davis went into the season as the top tight end on several lists and still may be, but Rucker is not far behind. His pass-catching skills and great speed for his size mean that he could be a big part of an offense that loves to get the ball to their tight end (much in the way that the likes of Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez have been utilized). The knock on him is his ability as a blocker -- where his partner in crime, Chase Coffman, rates much better. But, after getting a poor draft evaluation in the offseason, Rucker has focused himself on becoming more physical (according to an October article in the Kansas City Star). If he uses that physicality for his blocking as much as he has for his receiving, he'll be a more than serviceable blocker. Rucker has had chances to run the ball this season and could be used like a fullback or H-back on the next level, carrying the ball on short-yardage situations or catching screens and swing passes to go along with his duties as a tight end. If he commits himself to getting better as a blocker and completely using his size to his advantage in all facets of the game, he could have an excellent pro career. Taking him in the first round might be a reach, but he projects as a solid second-rounder and there is a chance that someone could snag him somewhere in the first round, because there are a lot of chances to get an excellent pass-catching tight end like Rucker. Update (12/28/07): Rucker made six catches for 76 yards in Missouri's 38-17 loss to Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship Game on Dec. 1. Rucker will enter next Tuesday's Cotton Bowl (vs. Arkansas) with 81 catches, 815 yards, and 8 touchdowns in 12 games for the 11-2 Tigers. For his outstanding regular season, Rucker was not only the recipient of numerous honors on the conference level, but he also earned the distinction of being a consensus All-American. The only thing he didn't win was the Mackey Award (nation's top tight end), which USC's Fred Davis (the #1 TE according to several projections) captured. Update (1/4/08): Rucker caught three passes for 19 yards in Missouri's 38-7 Cotton Bowl win over Arkansas on New Year's Day. With Chase Daniel going only 12 of 29 for 136 yards and an interception, that meant a quiet day for Rucker. But, he finished a great season and a great collegiate career with a big victory. Rucker finished with 84 catches for 834 yards and eight touchdowns in his senior season and finishes his four-year career with 203 catches, 2,175 yards, and 18 touchdowns. Update (1/30/08): Rucker was one of the top receivers in Saturday's Senior Bowl in Mobile, making three catches for 36 yards and a touchdown for the North team in their 17-16 loss to the South. Rucker caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from Michigan QB Chad Henne early in the fourth quarter that made it 16-7 North, before the South came back to win it on the last play of the game. Update (4/21/08): After a hamstring strain caused Rucker to be unable to fully participate at February's combine and at Missouri's first Pro Day, Rucker worked out for the scouts on March 20 and posted a disappointing time of 4.71 seconds in the 40. Rucker was in the mix to be one of the first tight ends taken at one time, but at this point that may not be the case.
Last Updated Apr-21-2008 by Eddie Griffin
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