Name: Mason Rudolph
College Team: Oklahoma State Cowboys
Draft Status: Third round, 76th Overall
- Height: 6’5’’
- Weight: 235 Pounds
- Arm Length: 32 3/8’’
- 40-Yard Dash: 4.9
- Vertical Jump: 26’’
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Rudolph does a very good job of seeing the field while going through his progressions. He’s also very patient, allowing his receivers to develop their routes before he attempts his throws. Touted as one of the most cerebral passers in the draft, Rudolph does an excellent job of looking off the defensive backs to conceal where he’s going to throw the football. At six-foot-five and 235 pounds, he definitely has the size to compete at the NFL level. Seeing over the line of scrimmage and finding passing lanes and windows won’t be an issue for him.
Arm strength is a major concern. At times, he lacks the ball velocity to the get pass to his target. His timing with his receivers isn’t always consistent and leads to simple mistakes. Rocky mechanics sometimes causes him to throw wobbly passes. He needs to do better at maneuvering through the pass rush. Opposing pass rushers can easily rattle his chains, causing him to throw erratic passes and make bad decisions.
It’s hard to predict how he will translate to the NFL. In college, he played in a favorable system that helped him produce high-end numbers. We can’t just tag him as a system quarterback, but we can’t ignore the label either.
He landed in the perfect situation. He will sit behind Ben Roethlisberger for a few years before he will get the chance to be the team’s starting quarterback. With Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington, the Steelers are loaded with talented pass-catchers. If he does get the opportunity to play earlier than expected, then he will have plenty of talented receivers to pass the ball to. We don’t know how long Le’Veon Bell will be with the team, so it’s hard to say if the run game will be the same when Rudolph gets his chance to play.
Roethlisberger is 36 years old, but he could hypothetically decide to play until he’s 40 or older. Anything can happen at this stage of the game. The Steelers could decide to extend or restructure his contract, making him with the team for a few more years. I’m not making any predictions, for all I know he could retire at the end of this year. However, him sticking with the team longer than expected is a major threat to Rudolph’s fantasy value.
He’s going to be riding the bench for the first few years of his career. Sitting on the bench and learning behind one of the best quarterbacks in the game is exactly where I want him. He’s not 100 percent pro-ready and he needs this time to develop. Don’t expect him to provide much impact in fantasy during this time period, because he’s not going to see the field unless a freak injury happens to Roethlisberger. I don’t want him playing until he’s ready, because if he hits the field before he’s fully developed then it could be bad news. The last thing we want is for him to leave a bad taste in everyone’s mouth, causing him to be subjected to journeyman/backup status for the rest of his career.
Rudolph is either going to develop into the team’s future starting quarterback or he’s going to be a lifelong backup quarterback. I’m not saying anything groundbreaking here, that’s the two often traveled paths for a mid-round quarterback prospect. Due to the talent around him, I can see him being very successful if he develops into the starting quarterback role. If the team doesn’t make an effort to give him the opportunity to showcase his skillsets, then it’s an indicator that he doesn’t have what it takes to be an NFL caliber starting quarterback.
Honestly, from a long-term perspective, I think he’s either going to become one of the most productive quarterbacks in the league or be very good at holding a clipboard. When I say productive, I’m not indicating that he’s going to be one of the better quarterbacks in the league, but the talent around him should fuel a lot of his production.
Quarterback comparisons are tough to make because there are a lot of variables to consider. It’s easier to pinpoint a few common traits and move on from there than try to fit a round peg in a square hole. With that being said, Mark Sanchez immolates a lot of the same characteristics. For starters, both quarterbacks are below the 50th percentile in ball velocity. They just simply don’t have the arm strengths to put enough zip on their passes.
These two quarterbacks are very cerebral. They do an excellent job of reading defenses and knowing where to go with the football. All quarterbacks are different, and I don’t think they will deliver similar results. Landing spot, coaching and degree of talent all play a role here, making it hard to create the exact doppelganger for an NFL quarterback. Of course, there’s only one butt-fumbler.
PROJECTED RANGE FOR ROOKIE DRAFTS
Rudolph is usually the sixth quarterback off the board with a rookie ADP of 42.80, making him an early fourth-round pick in rookie drafts. In most cases, he’s the first quarterback being selected in rookie drafts who wasn’t picked in the first round of the actual NFL Draft. He should be a mid-late round pick because he’s starting his career as a quality backup quarterback on a team that has a lot of talent on offense. I don’t mind drafting him here, because the upside outweighs his current price point. I drafted him in a few leagues, mostly because the talent around him could maximize his potential.
If you need a quarterback and you don’t want to overspend on one, then Rudolph might be a player you might want to take a chance on.
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