Over the course of the 2017 season, no quarterback prospect was more polarizing than Mason Rudolph. Generally considered near the top of his class prior to the season start, he was quickly buried under the hype of big-name prospects such as Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson.
While the national media focused mainly on the top names in college, Rudolph quietly had the best year of his career for the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Yet, his draft stock plummeted.
With the Jaguars in the market for QB competition and picking near the end of the first round, it is very possible that they could take a gamble on Rudolph. To see how Rudolph would fit as a Jacksonville Jaguar, let’s take a closer look at his physical profile and college film.
Measurables: (#) = Percentiles vs. NFL QBs
Height: 6-4 5/8 (83) Hands: 9 1/8 (14)
Weight: 235 (88) 40 yard dash: 4.9 (35)
Arms: 32 3/8 (60) Vertical Jump: 26″(5)
Rudolph possesses the ideal frame for a quarterback, nearly matching Josh Allen in both height and weight. While he is not incredibly mobile, his impressive size makes it difficult for pass-rushers to take him down. He stands tall and confident in the pocket, and effectively slides around to avoid pressure while keeping his eyes downfield.
This clip is particularly impressive to me due to the circumstances of the game. Oklahoma State is down by eight in the fourth on a 3rd and 22. Despite the parlous conditions, Rudolph looks calm as ever. He feels the pressure, adjusts, and delivers a dime between double-coverage for a touchdown.
Rudolph’s deep ball may be the best in the country. He has shown the ability the consistently hit deep targets in stride with laser-like precision. When throwing long passes, Rudolph’s ball placement and accuracy issues seem non-existent.
Rudolph’s intermediate passing game is underrated, particularly in the middle of the field. He is patient in the pocket and allows crossing receivers to create separation before throwing the ball. His intermediate throws seem to have the “zip” that his short passes lack.
Even though this play ended as dropped pass for an interception it is a good illustration of Rudolph’s patience. Oklahoma has eight men in coverage, and no wide-receivers are immediately open besides the check-down. Instead of taking the running lane ahead of him or tossing the short pass, Rudolph waits for his receiver to break away from the defenders and tosses a dart to his wideout.
Rudolph is sharp in the film room and has been praised by his teammates for his work-ethic and leadership abilities.
Although Rudolph has an ideal frame, his athleticism doesn’t match up. His 40-time (4.9) is below average, and his arm strength is questionable. Any corner or out routes become immediate liabilities. He doesn’t generate enough velocity to get the ball to the sideline quickly, allowing cornerbacks to recover and make a play on the ball.
Here Rudolph was just a second late on his release, but his lack of velocity allowed the Oklahoma cornerback to nearly intercept the ball for six.
Ball placement on short passes remains an issue for Rudolph. He makes receivers work for catches too often, which eliminates YAC opportunities. His overall accuracy is also inconsistent. He is capable of threading needles at times but will miss a target by a mile just as often. Needs to improve consistency if he wants to be an NFL starter.
Fit with the Jaguars
Rudolph, if drafted, would create immediate QB competition for Blake Bortles. His deep ball threat would pair nicely with Keelan Cole, and his pocket presence and success between the seams would benefit Marqise Lee. Oklahoma State’s offensive scheme heavily involved play-action, which would aid Rudolph in the Jags run-centric offense.
Unfortunately, Rudolph’s lack of speed would effectively eliminate the read-option threat and weaken any type of designed scrambling. His arm-strength will also most likely always be an issue, and will limit the variety of throws he is able to make. His turnover worthy plays are worrisome for the Jags; a team that values ball security.
Overall, Rudolph has a spot in Jacksonville. He complements Keelan Cole nicely and could fight for a starting spot with Blake Bortles. Having said that, is he worth a first round pick? In my opinion, no. There will be better players than Rudolph available at positions of need (G, TE, CB). If Rudolph was available in the late second round, however, the Jags shouldn’t hesitate to add him to the team.
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