The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Mason Rudolph with the 76th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Here’s all you need to know about Rudolph, including our grade.
Rudolph is big in the pocket and has a presence. He will always be able to see over the offensive line, and shouldn’t get too many passes batted down. Then, when he is forced to move around the pocket, he slides effortlessly while keeping his eyes downfield. He moves effectively, whether he is making sure he always has space in the pocket, or has to break out and run for the first down. For someone of his size, this is impressive.
With his arm, he throws a beautiful deep ball and attacks defenses. His deep ball always has a lot of air under it, but doesn’t hang up in the air. This lets his receiver run under it without letting the safety come over and intercept it. In saying that he attacks defenses, he is not afraid to throw between the linebackers and safeties. He doesn’t get afraid of defenses so he will continue to attack in the NFL.
Rudolph’s biggest weakness is going to be a lack of experience reading defenses and being slow through his reads. He wasn’t really asked to do this in college, and it is something that takes practice. While most of the physical tools are present, this is a big part of the game for a quarterback. How often did we talk about how smart Peyton Manning was? If Rudolph is unable to develop this part of his game, he could see major struggles against complex defenses.
Physically, there isn’t too much he does wrong, but could use some refinement in areas, mostly revolving around his lower body. He doesn’t use it as well as he could. He doesn’t get too much push, can lose his footwork and will sometimes make unnecessary off-balance throws. Most of this can be fixed by working with NFL coaches consistently, but he may need to sit for a year to help work on these weaknesses.