Path to the Draft: Rudolph to Buffalo (?), and Prepping for Pro Day

Written by Kyle Cox

We’re just over a month away from D-Day in Dallas. It’s going to be quite the show in Jerry World, and it’s already a hot ticket. Over 215,000 have already entered the lottery to attend.

Before we update on you on OSU’s draft hopeful class of 2018, let’s look at some key dates.

Important Dates/Info

NFL Combine Invites: Rudolph, Washington, Ateman, Lacy, Flowers
NFL Combine: February 27 – March 5, Indianapolis, Indiana
OSU Pro Day: March 15
NFL Draft: April 26 – 28, AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas

Draft season continues to roll on with OSU’s pro day this Thursday, which will be aired on the NFL Network. PFB will have boots on the ground and bring you plenty of coverage of the event, so stay tuned.

Rudolph to Buffalo?

One of the most interesting things about this NFL draft season is the developing QB landscape that is ever changing. Case Keenum is reportedly headed to Denver. Tyrod Taylor is out of Buffalo, and a half dozen other dominos will fall once this thing gets going.

That’s what makes it so hard to predict where any of the deep class of QBs will land, especially someone like Mason Rudolph.

One team that keeps coming up as a likely Rudolph suitor is the Buffalo Bills. With Tyrod Taylor now traded to Cleveland to be their 29th starting QB since we were all worried about Y2K, Nathan Peterman is the only quarterback on the Bills roster.

Yes, that same Peterman that Rudolph made look like the third-best QB on the field inside BPS a couple of years ago. That same Peterman who threw five interceptions in the first half of his first start in Buffalo.

Since the former Pitt QB is obviously not the Bills’ hope for the future, it’s expected that they will go one of two ways. 1. Group up some of their draft picks and move up to get one of the top three QBs.

Or 2. They could bolster the rest of their roster and pick up Rudolph who is projected as a late-first, early-second round selection.

Before the trade machine got cranking, CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso talked about Rudolph’s fit in the frozen tundra.

I don’t know if Buffalo is a great fit for Rudolph. Again — hands — cold weather, outside games. Not a great combo.

Rock Hill’s Own

If Mason Rudolph gets sent to Foxborough, as has been posited as a natural fit by the likes of Mike Mayock, he’d have a hometown connection already built in.

Pro Bowl corner Stephon Gilmore, a fellow Rock Hill native, is in the Rudolph camp.

Rudolph Player Comp… Sam Bradford

Eric Edholm of Pro Football Weekly is releasing draft profiles of his top 50 prospects and No. 45 is OSU’s all-time leading passer.

There’s plenty of good analysis to check out, including his player comp being Sam Bradford, (I don’t hate that comparison). But here are a few tidbits I found interesting.

On Rudolph’s strengths.

Improved accuracy downfield. Always looking for the big strike. Throws a nice deep ball with touch and placement — puts balls in a place where his receivers have a better chance to get it than the defender. Better touch and accuracy outside the hashmarks as his career went on. Also can fit it in down the seam in tighter slots. Not elite arm strength by any means, but plenty of juice to get the ball where it needs to go. [Pro Football Weekly]

And his weaknesses.

Small hands — has averaged just under a fumble every two games in college. Good enough athlete but won’t be a plus scrambler in the NFL. Running ability might be limited to QB sneaks and select spots. Operated almost exclusively from shotgun and pistol formations. Steeped in an “Air Raid” system whose quarterbacks have had, at best, mixed results in the NFL. Often threw to his first read and didn’t have to go as deep through progressions. [Pro Football Weekly]

The article also quoted yet another anonymous scout that is probably the same type that only looks at total defense and completely gets the RPI argument for OSU’s exclusion from the Big Dance.

“It’s one of those NBA offenses — lotta layups and three-pointers. They used tempo. All shotgun pretty much. Lot of first reads and screens there. I saw him get better with pressure coming at him. He’s not ready-made by any means, but he’s got some tools to work with.

I just don’t want him starting early. You need to rewire him just a little, but he’s got a good build, good experience and he talks like a leader should talk. He made no excuses when we talked to him (at the Senior Bowl) and has that cocky edge.” — AFC college scouting director [Pro Football Weekly]

I actually agree about Rudolph not starting early. I’d rather see him find himself in a good system, behind an established starter and learn the playbook. Who knows, maybe he’ll be the next Jimmy G. That’s probably the best-case scenario for Rudolph.

Lacy Set to Best his Combine 40 time

Chris Lacy spoke with our own Phillip Slavin this week about his experience at the NFL Scouting Combine and how he’s preparing for pro day and the upcoming draft.

And according to Lacy, the 4.51 he ran in the 40-yard dash, which put him on the radar for a lot of teams, is not the ceiling. He apparently still has another gear.

“I think it could be somewhere in the mid-4.4 area. 4.44 to 4.46 area,” Lacy said when asked what his fastest time could be.


Chris Trapasso has two Cowboys going in the first round of his latest mock draft. Mason Rudolph heads to Baltimore with the 21st pick (via trade) to become the heir apparent to Joe Flacco.

After sliding back to add an extra third-round pick, the Ravens are happy to draft Joe Flacco’s heir apparent in Rudolph, a big pocket passer who’ll enter the NFL with loads of collegiate experience. [CBS Sports]

I hadn’t thought about this fit before, but I think it makes sense because Rudolph might be the Joe Flacco of this draft class. Just need to get started on those #Elite t-shirts.

Trapasso also has James Washington headed the City of Brotherly Love to join the Super Bowl champs and a familiar-styled offense.

Not an offensive tackle? Ehhh let’s change it up. Washington is an immediate replacement and younger upgrade from the soon-to-be officially traded Torrey Smith. [CBS Sports]

Bleacher Report’s latest mock has Washington headed to Buffalo to boost an offense in need of weapons.