Mason Rudolph | FINAL EXAM With Steve Fairchild

Football lifer Steve Fairchild has been involved in coaching for over the past 35 years, as head coach of Colorado State (2008-2011), Virginia offensive coordinator (2013-2015), San Diego Chargers Senior Offensive Assistant (2012), Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator (2006-2007), St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator (2003-2005), Buffalo Bills running back coach (2001-2002) and numerous other coaching positions, which began during his time at San Diego Mesa Community College as offensive coordinator in 1982. Along the way, he has coached high-profile quarterbacks such as Marc Bulger, JP Losman and Dan McGwire. This season, Fairchild returns for a second stint in The Spring League, featuring Johnny Manziel, where he’ll be serving as head coach/offensive coordinator. Over the years, coach Fairchild has developed his own in-depth grading system which entails 15 different categories that projects how successful a quarterback prospect will be when transitioning from college to the pros. Each category is given a score from 1-10 based on film study of five-to-six games, with ten being the highest score (exceptional/elite) and one being the lowest (poor/inadequate). Coach Fairchild has agreed to put the top quarterback prospects in the 2018 NFL Draft through his ‘FINALEXAM’ in an exclusive NFL Draft Bible series, which includes an overall grade (maximum of 150) and projection for each top signal-caller. This is the third part of a six-part series, Fairchild’s fourth ranked quarterback is Mason Rudolph of Oklahoma State.


School: Oklahoma State | Hometown: Rock Hill, SC | Date of Birth: 07/17/95 | Number: #2 | Height: 6045 | Weight: 235 | Forty: 4.90 | Vertical: 26” | Broad: 8-11 | Shuttle: 4.56 | Year: Senior | Twitter: @Rudolph2Mason


A three-year starter, Mason Rudolph had an outstanding collegiate career in terms of wins and production. He showed significant improved each season, making strides in his accuracy, decision-making and ability to make all the throws. A team captain and three-time team offense Player of the Year, Rudolph finished with as the winningest quarterback in Cowboys history, going 32-9 as a starter and compiling 54 school records. His 13,618 career passing yards ranks fourth in Big 12 history and he has known to be the most active player in community service activities.


Size & Athletic Ability

Rudolph possesses ideal NFL size, plays strong in the pocket and sees the field extremely well. He demonstrates strength to slip out of arm tackles, while operating in the pocket. In terms of athleticism, he is average at best, as far as speed, agility and change of direction goes. There are plenty of starting quarterbacks in the NFL who also demonstrate this type of size and athletic ability. GRADE: 8.5

Statistics & Production

His four-year career at Oklahoma State was very productive. Most impressive was the ability to consistently push the ball down field from primarily pocket type set-ups. He improved each season and averaged an outstanding 10.6 yards per pass attempt as a senior. His career 96/26 touchdown-to-interception ratio is also an impressive mark. Rudolph has enjoyed great success demonstrating the ability to make NFL caliber throws. GRADE: 8.5

Arm Ability & Throwing Mechanics

While he doesn’t possess elite arm strength, Rudolph’s arm is strong enough to make every throw necessary in order to play in the NFL. He has a quick delivery for a quarterback that is his size (6-5) and shows the ability to get his feet aligned to the target, both with primary receivers, as well as working through a progression. An accurate passer but will have an occasional errant throw, usually due to radical in-pocket movement or touch throws. GRADE: 8.0


Rudolph’s drop is very smooth and compact for a big quarterback. He sets up with good balance but is occasionally wide with his feet, which can take some velocity off throws. He plays exclusively from the shotgun, so there will be an adjustment period for him to learn to play under center and use the various drops and play-action sets that he will need to execute in the NFL. GRADE: 8.0

Quick Game Performance/Accuracy (Three-Step)

He showed good production with his quick game throws. Many were off RPO actions, as he demonstrated the ability to make a number of different throws to wide outs, tight ends and running backs. His relatively quick delivery allowed this to be a part of the Oklahoma State Offense. GRADE: 8.0

Quick Game Performance/Accuracy (Five-Step)

This is one of the most impressive components of Rudolph’s overall game, as he demonstrated an excellent feel for these types of throws and this will translate very well to the NFL. He did this with primary, secondary and third receivers. The 10-15 yard range was a big part of what he did in college. He sees the field and works progressions well with these concepts. Rudolph was able to move subtly or make big moves in the pocket, in order to allow these concepts to develop. GRADE: 9.0

Intermediate Throw Performance/Accuracy (Seven-Step)

Rudolph showed the ability to throw the deep-in breaking cuts and comeback routes. He’s big and strong enough to stand in the pocket and let these types of concepts develop. He also showed the toughness to stand in the pocket and take a hit. GRADE: 8.5

Deep Ball Performance/Accuracy (35+ Yards)

The deep ball production was very good and a big part of the Oklahoma State offense. He shows enough arm and feel to get the ball downfield, with a number of different deep ball type throws. On many occasions, Rudoplh will throw it up for grabs, as he shows very big trust in his receiver’s ability to go up and make a 50/50 ball. GRADE: 8.0


He proved able to throw the timing routes with good accuracy and shows a natural feel for these types of throws. Rudolph doesn’t always have to see a receiver break or be in the open window to throw the ball. He sees the field well and can make throws with anticipation, in addition to being able to throw receivers open. He throws an excellent seam route; his size and stature helps him in these areas. GRADE: 8.5

Designed Movement Throws

Rudolph does show the ability to throw on the move. These types of designed sprint-out/naked throws were primarily to his right side. This is not a strength of his game, as he lacks athleticism, along with the speed and quickness required to play outside the pocket. This will not be a big part of his game in the NFL. GRADE: 6.5

Pocket Demeanor & Movement

Pocket presence is a big strength of Rudolph’s game. He’ll stand in the pocket and hold the ball, deliver it quickly and absorb the hit. He is tough when it comes to this aspect of the game, which will be a big asset in the NFL. He is a big, strong quarterback and shows the ability to do this consistently. He can make all types of throws when his launch point is threatened. He also shows an excellent ability to continue to process with his eyes downfield when the pocket is being pushed and/or when the pocket collapses. His subtle movement throws are very accurate. When forced to radically move inside the pocket, his accuracy can be inconsistent, most likely due poor athletic ability/core stiffness. GRADE: 8.5

Unique Throws

Rudolph can make some of the quick receiver screen passes, he can drift and throw backfield screens. He thrives at RPO-type throw –particularly to wide outs. He has decent touch on the ball, however, this is not a strength of his. Accuracy is not bad but better ball placement could be shown in this area as well. GRADE: 7.0

Poise & Performance In Critical Situations

He appears to be very poised when operating the no-huddle, showing great ability to communicate with his offense at the line of scrimmage. The Oklahoma State offensive scheme makes for an easy transition to the two-minute and third down offense. Rudolph did make some questionable decisions to hold the ball when backed-up and throwing out of his own end-zone but was highly productive overall when opposing defenses pressured him. GRADE: 8.0


This is an efficient decision-maker, as Rudolph works through his progressions in the pocket well and the willingness to check the ball down. He has an excellent feel for making decisions with defenders around him, both with receiver choices and pocket movements. He does appear to throw the 50/50 ball up too often when making decisions on deep patterns. GRADE: 7.5

Ability To Scramble/Extend Plays

Rudolph does show the ability to exit the pocket and make plays on the run. His speed is a limiting factor and he must break out with some room, or he’ll have to get rid of the ball quickly, as he is not running away from defenders. GRADE: 6.5


The South Carolina native is a quarterback who possesses a NFL frame, an above average arm and a mechanically sound delivery. His arm talent is good but not great. Rudolph is balanced and compact in his setup when dropping back and was a very productive player all four years in college, showcasing some characteristics that translate well to playing quarterback in the NFL. His pocket presence and ability to operate/process with defenders around him is outstanding; he shows the toughness to stand tall and execute. Rudolph isn’t very mobile in the pocket and there will be an adjustment period for him to play under center. Overall, he has a very big upside and may be as good as any quarterback in this draft class, as he develops over the next few years. Mason Rudolph should be a first-round pick in the 2018 draft. OVERALL GRADE: 119