Mason Rudolph


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By: Mark Leipold


Position: QB


The Pros: 

  • Touch Passes
  • Sideline Throws
  • Throwing Power

Touch Passes – Rudolph is great at dropping balls right in the basket or in between linebacker and safety. On mid-range throws (~10-20 yards), he often puts the ball in exactly the right spot. Even on slightly deeper balls, he usually hits his receiver in stride, allowing them to also rack up YAC. Rudolph hit a lot of big plays at Oklahoma State, specifically a lot of long touchdown passes, as a result. The first two clips show Rudolph hitting his receiver with great touch in stride. The third clip is a great example of beautiful touch on a fade route in the corner of the end zone.

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Sideline Throws – This one is pretty broad, but Rudolph hits a lot of great throws to the sideline. On deeper sideline throws, he has a knack for keeping the ball where only the receiver can make a play on it, and hitting his man perfectly. On shorter sideline throws, he has a strong ability to hit the receiver at the right time (right after they make their cut, for example), so that the defender cannot make a play on the ball. He usually keeps his man in bounds, too. The first two clips show great over-the-shoulder catches down the sideline that are placed perfectly. The third clip also demonstrates his throwing power, as he squeezes in a laser just in time.

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Throwing Power – This does not necessarily equate to the ability to throw the deep ball or throw a 70-yard bomb. Rudolph has a decent deep ball but does not have the biggest arm. However, he has excellent velocity on his throws when he needs to. The first clip shows him firing a laser into a tight window at just the right time. The second clip is a screen pass that probably shouldn’t score based on the number of defenders in the area, but Rudolph’s throw allows the receiver time to make a play.

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The cons:

  •  Pocket Presence
  •  Mobility
  •  Short Throw Accuracy
  •  What?

Pocket Presence – In the first clip, Rudolph can be seen throwing off of his back foot, seemingly bracing for the hit. Had he stood tall and thrown normally, he might not have thrown it to the wrong team. Also, Rudolph’s internal clock runs a bit slow, and he has a tendency to hold onto the ball too long. Not much more needs to be said – the second clip is worth 1,000 words. He needs to get rid of the ball or take off running.

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Mobility – Rudolph is decently mobile when he wants to be, but is unable to shake off defenders in the pocket that a lot of the good NFL QBs are able to sidestep. I think that most good NFL QBs would have been able to avoid the first hit. In the second one, Rudolph seems to fail to see what’s right in front of him.

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Short Throw Accuracy – Somehow, Rudolph seems to struggle the most with short throws, missing his mark a head-scratching amount of times, even when not under pressure. Just know that this clip is one of many.

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What? – Not sure what he was thinking here. Just a bad throw.

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Summary:

Rudolph has a lot of potential but doesn’t really shine in one particular area (except firing lasers). He definitely has a cannon but does not obviously translate it into huge downfield throws. His deep ball is solid but not great, and his accuracy is hit or miss. He’s mobile enough to move when needed, but when he’s under pressure, he hasn’t been able to translate that into evaded tackles. Could he be a solid NFL starter? Sure. Would it surprise me? Yes. I expect him to crack under pressure, and those QBs don’t often last long in the NFL.

Fantasy Impact:

Rudolph had excellent college production, but it seems to be driven more by supporting cast and scheme than his own talent. He’s a good prospect, and he should definitely be in an NFL uniform, but I’m not counting on him taking the field on Sundays for many years. I’m willing to stash him on a taxi squad in Superflex only, but in 1QB Dynasty leagues, I don’t see the point. I don’t expect him to have any real fantasy value in the near future, but if he goes to a team in need, who knows? If Denver drafts him in the second round, for example, and doesn’t sign a free agent QB, I’ll be much more intrigued.