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Mason Rudolph couldn’t be more different than Andy Dalton

Mason Rudolph had an incredible season in 2017, but is projected to fall to the second round of the draft. Could the Bengals get a good deal by selecting him on Day 2?

NCAA Football: Oklahoma State at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals already have three quarterbacks on the roster going into the 2018 draft, but that doesn’t stop the rumor mill from spinning. Andy Dalton has been the starter since Week 1 of his rookie season, and will probably keep his job until he retires and moves to the end of a rainbow with his pot of gold. The Bengals signed Matt Barkley as a backup, despite his 1-5 record as a starter and his TD/INT ratio of 8/14. The Bengals also have Jeff Driskel on the roster, who impressed during the preseason last year but still has yet to play a down in the regular season. If Dalton goes down, its hard to imagine the Bengals would have a lot of faith in either of his backups.

There could be another option at quarterback who already has experience working with Dalton. Mason Rudolph is one of the top quarterbacks in the draft this year, and the Bengals have their eye on him. Not only has he worked out for the team, but he has been working out with Dalton, too. Could Rudolph end up working with Dalton full time?

Scouting Profile:

Height: 6’5”
Weight: 235 lbs
Year: Senior
College: Oklahoma State
Projected round: Second round

Combine Stats:

40-yard dash: 4.9 seconds
Vertical jump: 26.0”

College Stats:

Passing yards: 13,618 career; 4,904 in 2017 (led FBS)
Passing touchdowns/Interceptions: 92/26 career, 37/9 in 2017
Completion percentage: 63.2 career; 65.0 in 2017
Rating: 159.7 career; 170.6 in 2017

College Highlights:

(Warning: Music contains explicit language.)


Rudolph is a prominent figure at the quarterback position, and it’s almost puzzling how he is not in the conversation with some of the other top prospects. Statistically speaking, Rudolph was one of the best in the country, ranking in the top four in every statistical category in FBS last season.

The Oklahoma State Cowboy might be described as Russell Wilson in Carson Wentz’s body. Rudolph often takes his time looking through all of his reads, avoiding contact in the pocket and waiting for the defense to break down, then delivers a strike. Rudolph keeps his feet moving so he can get his feet set quickly for the throw. In addition, he has the perfect size for a pocket passer; he is tall enough to clear the line and big enough to shake off arm tackles. While his 40-yard time was not impressive, he is not afraid to tuck the ball and take off down the field, evidenced by his 17 rushing touchdowns in the last three years (which is not a remarkable figure for college quarterbacks, but is impressive considering the pocket-passing type of quarterback he is). His decision making capabilites helped him score 47 touchdowns to only 9 turnovers his senior year.

While this modus operandi helped him reach nearly 5,000 passing yards in 2017, it has also lost him more than 500 yards from 92 sacks in his college career. Sometimes Rudolph will trust in his improvisation abilities too much and hold on the ball too long, creating sack opportunities for the defense.

Comparison to Andy Dalton:

And while Rudolph is comfortable extending plays, he does not look good on quick passes that rely on timing. For Bengals fans, Rudolph might actually be the opposite of Andy Dalton. While Dalton does well when he’s under pressure—despite what many fans think—Rudolph struggles with the sort of quick plays that the Bengals relied on in 2017. But, the longer Dalton holds the ball, the more prone to mistakes he becomes. Rudolph meanwhile seems to get better the longer he keeps the ball. Not to mention, Rudolph excels at long balls with which Dalton sometimes struggles. In fact, Rudolph has a tendency to overthrow receivers, while that is a problem Dalton rarely faces.

NCAA Football: Camping World Bowl-Oklahoma State vs Virginia Tech Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Fit with the Bengals:

As great of a prospect Rudolph is, it is hard to see him having success with the Bengals right now. The biggest reason Dalton needed to throw quick passes is because the offensive line couldn’t protect him. Even with the Cordy Glenn acquisition and the strong possibility of drafting another top lineman, it is hard to know what the offensive line will be like next season. If Rudolph were to enter the game in relief of Dalton, things would get out of hand quickly.

However, Rudolph could be a great long-term investment. His numbers at Oklahoma State improved ever year, which shows how teachable he is, and we know how talented he is. If the Bengals are serious about improving the offensive line, Rudolph has a chance to be a starting quarterback in a few years.

We also already know he looks good in black and orange.

Its hard to imagine the Bengals will go for a quarterback as early as the second round, given that other positions are bigger immediate priorities. Rudolph would make a huge impact for the Bengals a few years down the road if drafted, but we still wouldn’t bet on seeing him drafted to the Queen City.