Is Mason Rudolph Ready For The NFL?

Mason Rudolph will get his chance to play in the NFL, but whether that's next year or in the future will be determined after he receives more information from the NFL.

It's a question most Oklahoma State fans don't want to ask and may be afraid to ask because they might not like the answer. This upcoming Alamo Bowl has more in common with the Cowboys last trip to San Antonio when they downed the Arizona Wildcats 36-10 than you might think.

Yes, the game is still in San Antonio and it still pits the Big 12 against the Pac-12, but in 2010 mega mature quarterback Brandon Weeden and super talented wide receiver Justin Blackmon were lighting up opposing defenses. Also, both were considering early departures to the NFL. I know, how could you call Weeden's departure early, but technically it would have been.

Head coach Mike Gundy said that off-season directly after the bowl that Weeden and Blackmon were the two top recruits for the program and both stayed. 

The next season the Cowboys went 12-1 winning the Big 12 championship and a Fiesta Bowl showdown in overtime with Stanford to finish ranked third in the nation. 

This Alamo Bowl quarterback, Mason Rudolph, is a young junior who has not used a redshirt season as it was cut short by pulling the redshirt before the second to last game of the 2014 season, but you all know the rest.

Rudolph has been mostly really good in going 21-5 as a starting quarterback. This season he has completed 262-of-416 passes for 63 percent, 3,777 yards, and 25 touchdowns. He has thrown just four interceptions and been sacked 30 times, not all his fault. His career numbers are 525-of-926 passing for 8,400 yards (yes a very even number). He has thrown 52 touchdowns and only 17 interceptions.

He is known for the deep ball and his top deep ball target has been James Washington. This season the speedy and strong receiver has 62 receptions for 1,209 yards and nine touchdowns. He is averaging 19.5 yards per catch. 

Rudolph and Gundy both went over the process and Rudolph didn't seem overly hyped about it. Just like Weeden and Blackmon in 2010, both Rudolph and Washington have submitted the material to get their evaluation back from the NFL. Most guesses are they will be advised to return for their senior seasons but the answer won't come until after the Alamo Bowl, just as it did for Weeden and Blackmon. 

There is a third member of the evaluation group in defensive tackle Vincent Taylor. Taylor was in New York City on Friday night as a finalist and it turned out to be runner-up for the Piesman Award going to the interior lineman with the most athletic "skill-type" play this season. 

Taylor has four blocked kicks to lead the nation, and he has 44 tackles, 27 unassisted, 12 tackles for loss, six sacks, a pass broken up, two quarterback hurries, a fumble recovery, and two fumbles forced. He is a very strong and disruptive force inside. I think the NFL will also advise Taylor to stay in school. It is unusual for a defensive tackle to get a first- or second-round grade as an underclassman, but Taylor is thinking it.

"He told me that if he gets the grade that he's going to go," said a teammate commenting off the record. 

It is a certainty that all three will play for the Cowboys in a bid for the team's 10th win of the season against Colorado in the Alamo Bowl. It is also a certainly that Cowboy fans will stay very in tune to their junior stars after the game and until they hear a word on what their plans are for 2017.


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