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McShay: Washington, Rudolph Both in Top 10 at Position for 2018 Draft



There are a lot — like, a lot — of mock drafts on the internet these days. Some are good. Some are bad. Some are tough to discern. I think Todd McShay and Mel Kiper do a pretty good job for ESPN if only because they can devote all their time and resources to this singular pursuit.

Anyway, McShay recently released his top QBs and WRs lists for the 2018 NFL Draft, and Mason Rudolph and James Washington were unsurprisingly on them. Here’s what he said about each of them.

Mason Rudolph

Rudolph improved upon a good 2015 campaign with a better 2016, throwing for more than 4,000 yards with 28 touchdowns and only four interceptions. He has the frame (listed at 6-foot-4, 233 pounds) and mental makeup that you look for, but his below-average arm strength is a concern and could hold him back. [ESPN Insider]

James Washington

Washington’s production (2,923 career receiving yards and 19.2 YPC) is inflated by the scheme in which he plays, and there are some concerns about the level of competition. His long arms (33.5 inches) ease concern about his lack of height (5-foot-10). Washington is a highly competitive player with a professional work ethic. [ESPN Insider]

McShay has Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen and Luke Falk ranked ahead of Rudolph in his rankings with a pretty big dropoff in grade between No. 1 and No. 5. Darnold graded at a 94, and Rudolph graded at a 72.

He has Calvin Ridley, Christian Kirk, D.J. Chark, Antonio Callaway and Courtland Sutton ahead of Washington with Ridley getting a grade of 91 and Washington getting a grade of 70.

I don’t like the “Rudolph has a below average arm” take. That feels a little uninformed. There are concerns with Rudolph — most notably that his touch is lacking at times and he has a propensity to sail passes over the middle of the field. But I don’t think arm strength is one of them, even at the NFL level.

I love that McShay said The Prez has a professional work ethic. When I look at No. 28, I think “pro.” Not in the sense that he’s going to be a great NFL player, but in the way he goes about things right now. You can technically speaking be a professional in any industry and still not be a pro. Or you can be an amateur yet display the characteristics of a professional. Washington certainly falls into the latter category.

Kiper, for what it’s worth, has Washington on his top 25 big board but not Rudolph. And finally, Matt Bowen recently broke down film on the 2018 QBs (it’s really good if you have ESPN Insider), and here’s what he said about No. 2.

Rudolph can be a tough study at times because of the Oklahoma State offense and the defensive looks he sees. Similar to watching tape on Bears first-round pick Mitchell Trubisky at North Carolina, the heavy play-action/RPO game plan creates open windows and targets.

I would like to see Rudolph drive the ball more and attack tight throwing lanes in 2018. Although he lacks the upper-tier arm strength when compared to Allen, he has enough pop in his arm to challenge more defensive looks. [ESPN Insider]


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