Cleveland Browns draft profile: Oklahoma State QB Mason Rudolph
By Randy Gurzi
The Cleveland Browns seem intent on taking a quarterback at No. 1 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft, but if they change their mind, could Mason Rudolph fit?
Would fans lose their minds if the Cleveland Browns didn’t take a quarterback at No. 1 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft? Most likely. However, their track record in the past has to lead to some concerns that they could at least be thinking about it — especially if a good trade-down scenario presented itself.
If they did that, there would still be some players who could be viable starters down the road — like Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph. While he was surely aided by the system he played in, Rudolph isn’t someone to be ignored.
Although, he also isn’t a guaranteed stud either. There’s plenty of good and bad to his game, and we look a little deeper at him here.
Rudolph is as pure a pocket passer as there is in the draft. He stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 235-pounds. He can easily see the entire field with that height and has the size to take on defenders and keep getting up.
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The first thing you notice when watching Rudolph is that he fires the ball like a rocket. When he has time to set his feet and slide up in the pocket, it comes out of his arm as fast as anyone in the draft not named Josh Allen.
Rudolph also has no wasted motion in his throws. He holds the ball high and has a short, quick delivery.
The 235-pound Rudolph is also pretty mobile for his size. He can run the zone read and take it to the house, but also has great escapability. One of his better escape acts came in a game against Pitt when he avoided two sacks and delivered a pass while taking a hit — play ended in touchdown
Rudolph also does a decent job trying to read defenses and not stare down his No. 1 receiver — something a lot of young guys struggle with.
There are some flaws of course, which is why Rudolph isn’t often in the Round 1 debate. The biggest issue is his ball control. While he never threw a ton of interceptions, he did put the ball in position to be picked off several times but lucked out. He won’t get those kinds of breaks against NFL talent.
He also relies on his escapability to a fault as he hangs onto the ball too long at times. While this leads to some great plays like the earlier mentioned touchdown pass, it can also lead to sacks and fumbles despite adequate time to throw the ball away.
Rudolph also struggles with consistent passes. While he has those throws that fire off his hand, he also throws some lame ducks when he doesn’t get his feet set properly.
It would take some strange turn of events for the Browns to end up with the Oklahoma State gun slinger, but oddly enough they would be one of the few teams he could succeed on. Rudolph won’t be ready to play as a rookie, and the Browns could slide him to No. 3 on the depth chart and let him work on the mechanics that lead to his inconsistent throws.
In the end, it just won’t happen. He’s rather reminiscent of Brandon Weeden who they took out of OSU back in 2012, which would scare anyone in town away.
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Fortunately for Rudolph, he’s got more upside than Weeden and is much younger coming out of college than the former baseball player was. That means he should be able to reach his potential. Just not with Cleveland.