MASON RUDOLPH | QB | OKLAHOMA STATE
Height: 6045 | Weight: 235 | Arm: 32 3/8 | Hand: 9 1/8 | 40: 4.90 | Vertical: 26"
Rudolph is a fourth-year Senior who played at Northwestern HS in South Carolina where he shattered state passing records and recently was awarded the 2017 Blanchard-Rogers Trophy, aka the S.C. Heisman. While the former Rivals four-star recruit had several offers from the SEC and ACC, he has publicly cited his disappointment from not being recruited by in-state powers Clemson and South Carolina and has admitted that he uses these snubbings as motivation. Rudolph is universally revered by his teammates and his adoration from the Mike Gundy and the coaching staff is glaringly evident based on Rudolph being named team captain as a true Sophomore on 09/12/2015. Gundy calls Rudolph a perfectionist and has stated that Rudolph "prides himself on being the Peyton Manning, Tom Brady of college football" adding that his workaholic disposition permeates into his footwork, release, study and game plan. Rudolph is an exceptional competitor who consistently rises to the occasion during crucial moments and does not appear overwhelmed by high-pressure situations. Rudolph will surprise scouts with white board sessions throughout the draft process.
Rudolph is a much better athlete than given credit for, and while he may not exactly have incendiary speed when taking off as a runner or the shiftiness to make tacklers miss in the open field, the former All-Regions Northwestern HS basketball player certainly displays good coordination and maneuverability exhibiting subtle, calculated movements in the pocket. In fact, Rudolph played Tight End at Northwestern HS prior to being moved to QB during his sophomore year. Rudolph does possess prototype measurables and obviously spends a lot of time in the gym with a cut, muscular upper body and thick base. Rudolph is very effective on QB sneaks and is routinely successful in short yardage situations as a result of his size and will. Rudolph is adept at breaking through contact in the pocket and does a good job of keeping his balance through arm tackles and extending the play. Rudolph's frame affords him to take a bevy of hits throughout the game and his 39 games in 3 years as a full-time starter proves that durability should not be an issue at the next level. Rudolph showed great toughness playing through a broken foot this past season; an injury which caused him to miss the Senior Bowl.
While he's not Josh Allen, Rudolph possesses fine arm strength and throws an extremely catchable ball when he has time to set his feet and generate momentum from his lower body to drive his legs into his throws. Rudolph shows great accuracy on short throws and displays lovely touch when lofting balls over defenders to his target. Rudolph is a consistent deep ball thrower and his 125.7 passer rating when targeting players beyond 30 yards validates his tape in this regard. Although Rudolph's deep accuracy is impressive, he has a tendency to under-throw the ball and must rely on his WR to bail him out. Rudolph's passes when on the move on bootlegs and roll outs tend to wobble but the ball still gets there in enough time. Rudolph's velocity on tight window throws outside the numbers is inconsistent and he will hesitate pulling the trigger if the window isn't big enough, which has helped him mitigate turnovers at the next level. Rudolph led the NCAA in passing yards this season (4,904) and was blessed with a Biletnikoff winner as a deep threat in James Washington as well as a likely day 2 possession WR in Mrcell Ateman, so there may be concern Rudolph needs weapons to produce and to elevate an offense. Rudolph is a crisp technician and his dedication to commit his mechanics to muscle memory is evident on film. Rudolph makes it a priority to have his lower body and throwing motion in sync when delivering the football and constantly has his feet shoulder-width apart when planting and delivering a strike when afforded time in the pocket. Rudolph displays very good footwork with deliberate foot placement on drop backs and rarely throws off-platform. Rudolph is a natural thrower of the football and showcases a smooth stoke with an efficient, consolidated release to expediently distribute the football. Rudolph does a great job of not getting rattled when pressured and relies on his periphery to matriculate through the pocket and not drop his eyes when feeling contact. Rudolph does not play beyond his means and is perfectly fine taking the sack (31 in 2017) to live for the next play versus trying to play hero and commit a costly turnover. Rudolph will need to slightly accelerate his internal clock with increased NFL play speed and learn to throw with more anticipation and timing rather than relying on his targets to gain separation. Rudolph's mental make-up will be the biggest question mark in his evaluation due to Mike Gundy's Air Raid offense limiting his read progressions and necessity to scan the field after the snap. In white board sessions with team personnel during the pre-draft process, Rudolph will have the burden of proof to showcase his football IQ and prove that his limited offensive playbook and truncated post-snap progessions were a result of what he was asked to do rather than his mental capacity limiting him. Rudolph does show ability to adjust pre-snap and is most comfortable going from his first to his second read and then checking down if there isn't ample separation from his primary targets. Rudolph takes terrific care of the football as evidenced by his 4:1 TD to Interception ratio and the majority of Rudolph's interceptions are a result of failing to use his eyes to manipulate defenders and locking onto WRs. Rudolph's perceived mental shortcomings can all be incubated with experience and good coaching at the next level as long as he can prove he possesses the mental capacity to absorb a full NFL playbook and get acclimated to taking snaps under center in a Pro-Style offense.
On a recent radio interview, CBS Sports writer Pete Prisco mentioned that some NFL sources have referred to Rudolph as a bit of a "loner" and may be lacking the charisma to take command of an NFL huddle, despite glowing references from teammates and OSU coaches. Missing a Senior Bowl with a stacked QB class was a harrowingly missed opportunity for Rudolph to prove he belonged in shells and could pick up an offense quickly, but his decision to meet with teams at the event and do white board work may have intrigued some teams who may doubt Rudolph's ability between the ears. Rudolph admitted to being a Washington Redskins fan growing up, and while Alex Smith's mega-deal may have shattered Rudolph's dreams of playing in the nation's capital, the Russian roulette of team-needy QBs may work in Rudolph's favor of landing somewhere at the bottom of the first round if he can convince scouts and GMs that he his football knowledge can translate to the next level. Rudolph compares in body type and play style to a durable Sam Bradford and he must prove that he will be able to adjust to the cerebral demands of an NFL playbook and will likely be grilled in interviews. Rudolph is best suited to land with a team where he can sit and learn for one year and can lean on some decent offensive weapons as he ramps up his skills and should hear his name come off the board before the conclusion of the first round.
Overall Grade: 79
Athletic Ability: 4
Play Strength: 6
Play Speed: 4
Competitive Toughness: 7
Arm Strength: 3
Speed of Release: 3
Short Accuracy: 4
Medium Accuracy: 3
Deep Accuracy: 4
Pocket Awareness: 4
Read Progressions: 2
Ball Security: 5
Player Comparison: Sam Bradford
Projected Round: Fringe Round 1/2
For information on our grading criteria, click here.