Devy Watch: QB Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State

 

Going into his Senior season in Stillwater Oklahoma, Mason Rudolph looks to add to his already gaudy career numbers and lead Oklahoma State to a College Football Playoff berth. About as experienced as someone can be, Rudolph enters his fourth year having already thrown for 8,700 yards and 55 Touchdowns. Looking at last year specifically, the stats are alarmingly good, the Cowboy threw for 4091 yards, and 28 Touchdowns against just 4 interceptions. Going into his senior season, the Heisman hopeful will be under the close watch of draft experts everywhere. Let’s dive into Rudolph as a prospect and discuss where he stacks up early in the 2018 draft process.

Strengths:

Downfield Accuracy: This is what impressed me the most when I looked at Rudolph, he has an incredible ability to connect on deep passes. with the majority of quarterbacks, the further downfield you go, the worse their accuracy becomes. With Rudolph, it’s the opposite.

Release: I don’t love, or even like Rudolph’s mechanics as a whole. His upper body lacks fluidity and is often awkward. But his release is quick, and that’s a start. If he can improve on his footwork (which we’ll discuss later) his short accuracy should quickly catch up to his accuracy on deep balls. Looking at stats courtesy of Pro Football Focus, Rudolph led all returning Power 5 quarterbacks in regards to deep throw numbers (over 20 yards). Most in both completions (42) and yards (1425).

Decision Making: You can often look at touchdown to interception ratio to find out how good of a decision maker a quarterback is. After all, good decisions usually lead to scores while bad ones lead to turnovers. Rudolph’s TD/INT ratio is 7:1, which is absurd. While I doubt he’ll be able to keep that up in 2017, but hey, not just anybody can do that over a whole season as Rudolph has done. On tape, you see a Quarterback who knows when to take his shots and doesn’t often take bad ones. He puts the ball where his receiver has the best chance to catch it, and that’s a skill that should be highly coveted in a QB prospect.

Weaknesses:

Footwork: I’ll give him this, he’s consistent. But consistency isn’t everything when your footwork has a fundamental flaw. Rudolph has a very wide base of footwork (wider than I have ever seen in a prospect) that ends up limiting him fairly often. When navigating the pocket, it’s better to have short, concise strides so that you can get into a set position ready to throw at any time, with Rudolph it just takes too long. Outside of his footwork fundamentals, like many quarterbacks, he has a hard time stepping into throws while under pressure. Something QB’s either have or don’t have is fearlessness. For now, it doesn’t appear he has that fearless attitude when the pocket is collapsing around him.

Mobility: Not a total weakness, as Rudolph knows his limitations and does well with the athleticism he has, but he just isn’t very fast. I don’t think I need to list any quarterbacks who have had Hall of Fame level careers whom couldn’t run very well, but still, it’s nice to be able to pick up a first down or two by scrambling.

I am intrigued to see how Rudolph does running the ball in 2017 because I did see improvement throughout 2016.

Summary:

There’s a lot to like with Rudolph, experience, size (6’5), stats, but his drawbacks may just be too much for him to have a high level of success at the next level. Both his mechanics and footwork are concerning, especially the footwork like we discussed. As for now, I have him rated as a 4th or 5th round talent. That may sound a little harsh on my end, but let me explain by saying Rudolph doesn’t show any “top notch” traits except for decision making. So many of his “good” traits are pretty run of the mill. Take his accuracy for example, as a whole it’s pretty moderate even with the elite deep ball accuracy because of struggles he displays on short to intermediate throws. His pocket presence is nothing special, yes he’s great at sensing pressure, but he fails to step into throws while facing it. We’ll see how he progresses through his senior season, let’s hope his stock can rise.

 

 

 

bylitalo

Bradley Ylitalo, Minneapolis MN. Bethel Football Student Coach. Scouting/Devy writer for the Dynasty Football Factory. Follow me on twitter @NFL_drafthub or find me on facebook: Bradley Ylitalo

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