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Armchair GM: Top Five 2018 Draft Steelers QB Candidates – #3, Mason Rudolph

November 30, 2017
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Armchair GM: Top Five 2018 Draft Steelers QB Candidates – #3, Mason Rudolph

I’ll let you in on a little secret, THIS is the guy I want the Steelers to Draft. Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph is another player who draws comparisons to our Ben Rothlisberger. He has the size, arm talent and the eyes in the back of his head Ben showed early in his career.

In high school in South Carolina was an incredibly productive Quarterback with 10,986 yards yards and 132 passing touchdowns. He came into college as a 4 star recruit and signed with the Oklahoma State Cowboys, becoming starter in his Freshman year.

Rudolph has improved every year in college and his production reflects that. He’s also led his team to big bowl games over that time. At 6′-5″, 230# he fits the mold of the modern NFL QB.

Oklahoma State’s pro style offense makes it easier to evaluate Rudolph. His numbers are great with a 63% career completion rate and a very healthy 9.3 yards per completion. This tells you this isn’t your standard spread, ‘long handoff’, passing game.

The arm talent is undeniable. Rudolph is the most accurate passer from inside 25 yards in this draft. He consistently fits the ball into tight windows. If I was going to give him a knock it’d have to be he latches on to the intended receiver and telegraphs his intent but the more film I watch the more I think it’s just confidence. He doesn’t care the defense knows where the ball is going. He has confidence in his arm and receivers to believe there will be a completion. Going through reads and looking off defenders is something Steelers very good QB coach, Randy Fitchner, can help him with.

Rudolph shows great touch on long balls and throws some very nice back shoulder fades. He tends to put air under his long passes which does cause some of them to sail but he only seems to do this when his man is clearly beating the defender down the field.

Whatever the opposite of ‘happy feet’ is, that’s what Rudolph has got. He sets his feet and barely moves them. When he does move he slides or shuffles them so they are almost always in contact with the ground. This means his feet are always set to make a throw.  This shows his fundamentals are very solid.

Rudolph has had stability at O.S.U. and it has paid big dividends. He’s held his own and then some in shootouts with some of the best college QB’s.

Mason Rudolph, Quarterback – Oklahoma St. – 6′-5″, 230#  – Projected Rd – 1st.

Year    Class G         Cmp    Att       Pct      Yds     Y/A      AY/A   TD       Int        Rate

2014   FR       3          49        86        57.0    853     9.9       9.2       6          4          154.0

2015   SO      13        264     424     62.3    3770   8.9       8.9       21        9          149.1

2016   JR       13        284     448     63.4    4091   9.1       10.0    28        4          158.9

2017   SR      12        297     457     65.0    4553   10.0    10.6    35        9          170.0

Overall           41        894     1415   63.2    13267 9.4       9.8       90        26        159.3

Arm Talent – It’s difficult to put the ‘elite’ label on Rudolph’s arm talent because you usually see that come out under adverse situations, like flicking a 35 yard pass off a back foot. The reason for this is good. Rudolph almost always finds a way to throw with a good base. He is incredibly accurate in his short and intermediate game. His mechanics are about as near perfect as you’re going to get. Rudolph can makes all the NFL throws and should be a Combine standout. His ability to maintain a strong base under pressure is sure to impress Offensive Coordinators. Able to fit the ball in tight windows from 35 yards in. Able to throw the long pass hitting his man in stride. Can drop it in the bucket and hit the back shoulder fade. Does get too much air under his long throws on occasion and could probably tighten that part of his game up at the next level.

Leadership/Intangibles – Clear team leader who believes he can bring his team back from bad situations. Totally unflappable under pressure. Never panics or sacrifices his form or fundamentals when things break down. Clearly displays the poise you want to see from a NFL starting Quarterback.. Even keel in interviews, talks about areas where he can improve. Always talks about the team and team goals. Talks up his teammate’s efforts and spreads praise around. Takes responsibility for his own mistakes. Shows great maturity and the necessary sense of humor.

Mobility – Though Rudolph may be the best pocket passer in this year’s Draft, he is also very mobile. Great ability to feel pressure. Great at moving just enough in the pocket to make the throw. Is mobile and strong enough for designed run plays. Will lower his shoulder and make a hit in Quarterback sneaks or near the goal line. Coaches trust him running near the goal line and he has 17 rushing TDs for his career, 10 of them coming in 2017. Can deliver the ball with accuracy running in either direction.

Under Pressure – As I said, TOTALLY unflappable under pressure. Almost always finds a way to throw with a solid base. Eyes in the back of his head and is rarely blindsided by pressure. Never seems panicked no matter how hairy it gets. The game never seems too big for him. The best movement under pressure and patience of any in this year’s class of QBs.

Concerns/Areas Needing Work – There’s not a whole lot, here. Needs to work on looking off defenders and going through his reads. Needs to work on delivering the long ball with a little more authority. Rudolph has the talent he needs to handle those challenges.

Bottom line: Like I said at the beginning, Mason Rudolph is the Quarterback I hope the Steelers draft. They would be getting one the most technically solid QB prospects in recent years with all the intangibles and talent to develop into an elite level NFL player. With a year of watching and learning from Ben and with Randy Fitchner smoothing out the few kinks he has, Rudolph could be the next great Steelers signal caller.

Go Stillers!!!

Jeffrey Burton

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One Comment

  1. Mr. McBlitzface

    I’d be happy with Rudolph, Rosen, Darnold or Josh Allen. I just hope the Browns draft Lamar Jackson. It’d be a hoot.

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