Mason Rudolph: Armchair Scouting Report
What His Numbers Say
Here are Mason Rudolph’s career numbers, courtesy of Sports Reference:
I also put together his final year game log, including the rank of the opposing defense based on Football Outsiders S&P+:
Rudolph’s career seems to be going somewhat underappreciated, as he is not typically included in conversations as a top-three prospect from this class. He has probably earned the right to be debated, after posting a career AYA of 9.9 at Oklahoma State. Rudolph is one of just eight Power Five signal-callers since 2000 to have at least 1,200 career attempts, and a passer efficiency rating of at least 155.
Rudolph faced the easiest schedule of all the prospects covered so far, but he did still go up against five pass defenses ranked inside of the top 37 in S&P+. Here were his splits for those contests:
The Oklahoma State product did not seem to be terribly impacted by his matchups against better competition, though it is worth noting we had to lower the bar more for Rudolph than for anyone else. Rudolph was his same, dominant self against just about everyone this year.
If we look back at the 2016 season, we can compare Rudolph to both Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes, as they shared seven common opponents:
Mayfield was clearly the best performer of the group, but Rudolph also managed to out-produce the 2017 top-10 pick. In particular, he was far more efficient, as indicated by the AYA gap of 1.7. There is a lot to like about Rudolph’s profile.
PLAYER COMPARISON: Matt Leinart
|Player||Cmp||Att||Pct||YPA||TD Rate||INT Rate||Rate||AYA|
When looking at statistical profiles, the comp who stood out to me the most was Leinart, who starred at USC before flaming out in the NFL. The players are of similar builds, both in the six-foot-five, 230-pound range. They also have strikingly similar numbers. There will be an obvious inclination to view this comparison as a slight to Rudolph, but it is important to remember Leinart was a highly touted top-10 draft pick. It is not unreasonable to consider Rudolph to also be a top-10 talent.
IDEAL LANDING SPOT: Bills
The Bills are playing very coy right now, but I don’t think anyone expects them to retain Tyrod Taylor through this off-season. The coaching staff was so down on Taylor he was benched for Nathan Peterman, until the rookie’s play was so bad he had to be replaced. Despite their mishandling of that situation, I believe Buffalo is a good football team with a lot of promise in the future. Rudolph would be a more prototypical signal-caller, who would meet their desire to play more traditional football. The weapons are terrible right now, but the Bills have back-to-back picks in the first round. They can definitely address the receiver position as well as quarterback.
CURRENT 2QB FANTASY ROOKIE DRAFT PROJECTION: Late First Round (ROUND 4 IN 1QB LEAGUES)
While Rudolph probably won’t go quite as high in the NFL Draft as the other quarterbacks profiled so far, I still expect him to be a first-round pick when all is said and done. That should make him a first-rounder in 2QB rookie drafts as well, though the quality and depth of this class necessitates him going towards the back-half of it. In single-quarterback formats, he should be an afterthought.
I am definitely higher on Rudolph right now than the consensus, and he will make for an interesting data point for assessing signal-callers through the numbers. My honest assertion here is that Rudolph is the player scouts want Josh Allen to be: big, strong armed, and efficient. The only real point of hesitation for me is that we know he played with one of the Draft’s top wideouts in James Washington, and it is possible that his numbers were pulled up as a result. Still, the efficiency is so great that I’m not sure one single player could be responsible for it. If he goes later in the first round, he will have a chance to make a more immediate impact on the league, and we could see him become a winner rather quickly.