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2018 NFL Draft: How QB Mason Rudolph Would Fit with the Jaguars

Ruairi Songer

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Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

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)

Strengths:

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.

Weaknesses:

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.

Ruairi Songer is a lifelong Jags fan and Duval native. You can follow him on Twitter (@ruairi_s) for Jags news, Draft information, and off-season updates.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

New York Jets Call Jaguars About Dante Fowler Jr.

Zach Goodall

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The New York Jets appear to be interested in trading for a pass rusher, and have reportedly called the Jacksonville Jaguars about fourth year DE Dante Fowler Jr.’s availability, per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.

Fowler Jr. offers potential as a full-time EDGE, as he has accumulated 12 sacks (14, including postseason) as a rotational pass rusher over the past two years. The Jaguars selected Fowler Jr. with the third

However, Fowler Jr. has a history of drama. He was most recently suspended for a week for fighting in practice, and will miss Week 1 due to a suspension for a misdemeanor battery charge from 2017.

We wrote last week that the Jets would be a team that’d make most sense if Fowler Jr. was on the trade block, which you can read here.

We will update this story as details emerge.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars Victorious Over Vikings Despite Penalties, Lack of Offense

Demetrius Harvey

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Aug 18, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (91) reacts to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty during the first quarter against Jacksonville Jaguars at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Game recap

The Jacksonville Jaguars took their talents to Minnesota this week, facing the Vikings in their second preseason game after a week of joint practices.

Before the game, several Jaguars starters were ruled out including TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, CB Jalen Ramsey (suspension), FS Tashaun Gipson, LG Andrew Norwell, RT Jeremy Parnell, and DT Marcel Dareus. DE Taven Bryan, FS Cody Davis, DE Dante Fowler Jr. (suspension), LB Brooks Ellis, DE Dawuane Smoot, and DT Eli Ankou would also not play.

The game started off quickly as the Jags defense was able to get an instant three and out against Kirk Cousins’ Vikings. The defensive line has never looked better, and although Dareus was out, they still stood up strong against the Vikings offensive line creating penetration all game, sacks, and forced fumbles. At the end of it all Kirk Cousins ended his day going just 3 of 8 passing for 12 yards.

It is fair to say, however, both first team offenses struggled mightily during the game.

The Jaguars first two offensive drives went about as poor as they could have. Following a three and out, Blake Bortles threw his first interception of the preseason. He seemingly did not see Vikings’ safety Harrison Smith right in front of the receiver on the play. Nevertheless, the Jaguars offense was finally able to piece together a decent drive ending in a 1-yard touchdown by running back Leonard Fournette later on.

Blake Bortles and most of the Jaguars starting players would play the entire first half. Even still, besides the early touchdown by Fournette, the Jaguars could not get anything done. A lot of the Jaguars struggles were due to penalties. 10 penalties for 100 yards in the first half alone and a key holding call on a Dede Westbrook would-be 51-yard punt return was nullified. Blake and the Jaguars offense could not get much of anything going all day long and that would be the theme for the day, for both teams.

The play of the game came very late in the 4th quarter when wide receiver Rashad Greene took a punt 51-yards to the Vikings 4-yard line, setting up a game-winning touchdown by Brandon Wilds. After the Vikings got the ball back, the Jaguars backups needed a stop on defense to win the game. On the Vikings last drive of the game, the Jaguars defense got yet another stop, this time on 4th down to win the game.

Three plays of the game

  • DE Yannick Ngakoue does his best Key and Peele impersonation after his sack. He should know better than to do 3-pumps, but this was pretty funny.

  • After the Blake Bortles interception, Jaguars defensive tackle Malik Jackson was able to force a fumble on the Vikings running back Latavius Murray. The Jaguars defensive line came to play.
  • Logan Cooke made one of the most beautiful punts I have seen a Jaguars punter make in years. From around the Jaguars 45-yard line, the rookie punter punted 56 yards to the Minnesota 5 and the Jaguars special teams unit only allowed a 7-yard return from there. The Jaguars finally have a “weapon” in their punter.

Player of the Game

The player of the day is by far Yannick Ngakoue. This man came into this season on a clear mission: To seek and destroy. Ngakoue started the game off strong with a sack, although nullified because of a celebration penalty afterward, the defensive end made his presence known from the very start. For much of the game, Ngakoue kept the pressure on and was consistently in the Vikings backfield. He was a part of jackson’s forced fumble after Bortles’ interception. If this game is any indication, Ngakoue could very well be an all-pro.

Final Whistle

For most of the game, the Jaguars just couldn’t get anything going on offense..  The biggest issue with the Jaguars today was their inability to overcome penalties. The team accounted for a total of 13 penalties 140 yards.

The bright spot for the Jaguars was easily their defense for both the starters and the backups. They held Kirk Cousins to only 12 yards on 8 passes, and the Vikings backups barely made any plays of note. The Jaguars offense, particularly the starters, will need to have a much better game next week as they head into their regular season warm up against the Atlanta Falcons.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars vs Vikings: Game Preview and Information

Ruairi Songer

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Dec 11, 2016; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (left) and Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs (right) pose for a photo after exchanging jerseys at EverBank Field. The Minnesota Vikings won 25-16. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

Jacksonville Jaguars at Minnesota Vikings

Thursday, 8/17/18 @ 1pm EST, U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN

You can watch the game on CBS47/FOX30, NFL Network, as well as on the team’s live stream in select markets.

Preview:

The Jaguars and Vikings joint practice sessions have come to a close, the two teams will meet on the field to end the second week of preseason. The Jaguars and Vikings are similar teams in many ways, as both possess fearsome defensive units and solid running attacks. With that being said, here’s a few things to watch for in Saturday’s game:

Blake Bortles. Blake Bortles. Blake Bortles.

Bortles’ play and development will be a reoccurring story-line each week, but Saturday will bring his biggest test of the preseason. After an impressive training camp and first preseason game against the Saints, Bortles had a couple of rough outings during joint practice sessions, going 4/13 during 11 on 11 drills on day one.

The Vikings defense, while tough, is a blessing for the Jaguars offense and Blake. The match-up gives Bortles the chance to test a historically good passing defense, without any regular season record implications. He has the opportunity to take chances, learn from his mistakes, and compete against several All-Pro defensive backs such as Harrison Smith and Xavier Rhodes.

Cam Robinson will be put to the test against feisty Vikings edge rushers, mainly Danielle Hunter, who has recorded 19.5 sacks over the past two seasons. Vikings All-Pro DE Everson Griffen will most likely be inactive for Saturday’s game due to an infected leg wound.

Robinson’s play seems to be improving from 2017, which could, along with the addition of Andrew Norwell, elevate the Jaguars’ offensive line to being a top unit in the league.

The continuing battle for the nickel cornerback spot seems to be leaning in the favor of D.J. Hayden, after he intercepted Kirk Cousins in a joint practice session earlier in the week. With the absence of suspended CB Jalen Ramsey, Tyler Patmon should get the go-ahead at outside corner, giving Hayden plenty of snaps in the slot. He will be tasked with covering Adam Thielen, one of the better slot receivers in the league. A solid showing for Hayden would help cement his spot at nickel corner.

Sophomore RB Dalvin Cook may see his first action of 2018, pending on a decision by Vikings HC Mike Zimmer. The former Seminole had a promising start to his rookie year before going down with an ACL tear early in the 2017 season. Cook would be an interesting test for the Jaguars DL and LB corps, namely SAM LB Leon Jacobs, who shined in run defense against the Saints.

WR Rashad Greene’s job may be in jeopardy after muffing a punt against the Saints in week one. If Greene is still turnover-prone as a punt returner, he will have to find success as a receiver to make it past roster cuts. Look for Shane Wynn or Dede Westbrook to also see time as punt returners.

 

 

 

 

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