Top NFL Draft Prospects: Rudolph gives Oklahoma State stability at quarterback
The Cowboys' spread offense isn't the ideal proving ground for future NFL quarterbacks, but Rudolph nonetheless fits the mold
In preparation for the 2017 football season, NFLDraftScout.com will profile the top NFL draft-eligible prospects with a different player profile each day. The series will culminate with the preseason top-20 prospects in August.
Since Brandon Weeden set multiple passing records in Stillwater, it has been a revolving door at quarterback for Oklahoma State. But Mason Rudolph has given the Cowboys stability at the position with a 12-3 record over his 15 career starts the last two years. He removed his redshirt in 2014 due to injury and had one of the most productive seasons in school history last year, completing 62.3 percent of his passes for 3,770 yards while delivering a 21-to-9 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
A durable, well-built prospect, Rudolph fits the mold of a prototypical NFL pocket passer with his size and arm strength. He generates easy velocity with a simple stroke and understands trajectory and touch, delivering a very catchable ball for his receivers. Rudolph tosses an accurate deep ball, whether he is dropping the ball in the bucket or firing a strike on a downfield post. His production is inflated due to the Oklahoma State offense, but it also showcases his confidence to test deep routes and distribute the ball all over the field.
While his arm strength is above average, Rudolph needs to show better follow-through on his delivery and finish with his hips. In the Cowboys' offense, he isn't consistently asked to move from 1-to-2-to-3 in his progressions, often locking onto his initial target and staring through him with laser focus. Rudolph also needs to improve his anticipation to throw receivers open instead of waiting for them to come open before delivering the ball. He isn't a poor athlete, but struggles to feel the pressure, shuffle his feet and reset as his tape doesn't show many second-chance throws.
The Oklahoma State shotgun spread offense is far from a training course to prepare quarterbacks for the NFL game, but Rudolph flashes a lot of the pro traits that will entice scouts to spend a lot of time in Stillwater this fall. The Cowboys return their leading rusher (Chris Carson) and receiver (James Washington), and with quarterback J.W Walsh, who had 26 total touchdowns in 2015, no longer on the roster, the stage is set for Rudolph to take a big step in production and development for the next level.
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