Here at Go Pokes we have really been holding off on this because honestly I don't think that the four Oklahoma State players that submitted their requests from evaluations from the NFL would or should receive those evaluations and make any kind of decision on whether they will declare for the 2017 NFL Draft or remain at Oklahoma State and play their senior season as a Cowboy until after the season is complete next Thursday in San Antonio, hopefully with a win over the Colorado Buffaloes to ensure a finish in the top 10 and a 10-win season.
However, other media sources have weighed in, some heavily, some local, and while it is quite likely many will believe we are pushing for all four players to stay in Stillwater and help the Cowboys to a season that could be very special because of current talent and talent on the rise in 2017, we believe in the best thing for the player is actually the best thing for Oklahoma State. Future players, top recruits, take notice of coaches that encourage their players to go to the NFL early and it does help recruiting.
That said, here is what we have researched and here is what we think, which may be worth something or may not be worth much at all.
Mason Rudolph, QB, 6-5, 228, Rock Hill (Northwestern), S.C.
There are a few sources out there we trust and one is Walter Football. They rank Rudolph as the eighth-best quarterback prospect behind (in order) DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame; Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina; Davis Webb, California; Deshaun Watson, Clemson; Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech; Luke Falk, Washington State, and Brad Kaaya, Miami, Fla.
We don't believe that Rudolph is that low, but he did lose some traction during the season with a couple of games struggling with accuracy. Both CBS Sports (we don't trust) and USA Today Draftwire (we trust more) have him rated fifth among quarterbacks. In their complete 2017 NFL Mock Draft, Draftwire has him being picked 56th (toward the end of the second round) by the Kansas City Chiefs. Pro Football Focus has him as a first-round pick midseason, but dropped him by the end of the season.
The evaluation we received from a scout was that Rudolph has the size and arm, especially for the deep ball that please NFL teams. His consistency is a concern and his field vision is not great as he often goes to primary targets and even stares down the primary target. He could very easily use another year to get better overall physically and to improve his field vision. That scout projected if he came out that he would go in the middle rounds.
I think he may want to look and see how many quarterbacks do come out and if he sees himself going after the first two rounds then stay at Oklahoma State. If he has enough credible people (not agents) tell him he will be picked second round or better then he should strongly consider it.
James Washington, WR, 6-0, 205, Stamford, Texas
The evaluations of Washington tell me less media in that business actually know what they are talking about. Pro Football Focus does not even have Washington rated. Walter Football does have him among the top 33 receivers. The list included the likes of Cooper Kupp from Eastern Washington and Malachi Dupre from LSU. I'm not buying it. CBS Sports has Washington as the 12th-best receiver, but the 91st-best prospect overall. It would appear from those numbers that this is a strong year for receiver prospects. USA Today Draftwire has him as a bubble pick for the draft, but the overall 2017 NFL Mock Draft does have Washington picked 110th overall in the fourth round to Philadelphia.
My scout friend thinks that is accurate and says the fourth round is exactly where he would put Washington. He likes his speed and explosion. Yes, Washington is 6 foot, but plays taller with his explosive jumping ability and his timing as to playing the ball is excellent. Ball skills are great but his route running could be better and he was sometimes taken out of the game by bracket, over the top, and flat our double coverage. NFL folks want to see him beat those ploys at the college level and believe he can. They believe another year could advance him. If fourth-round money and security is good for him then he could go. Another season of work in college could bump that up to at least second round if not first.
I agree with that assessment. If I were Washington, I think I would stay.
Vincent Taylor, DT, 6-3, 310, San Antonio (Madison), Texas
He did not make the list with Pro Football Focus, but Walter Football has him 18th and CBS Sports has him as the ninth-best defensive tackle prospect and the 78th-best prospect overall. He did not make the USA Today Draftwire NFL Mock Draft. The only three that did were Rudolph, Washington and Balke Jarwin as the Cowboys senior tight end was selected with the 155th pick overall, the fifth-round pick of the Atlanta Falcons. I could see Taylor being a fit with the Falcons, but alas he is not in any mock drafts we saw.
Our scout friend said this, "He is big enough and athletic enough, but he needs to get off blocks cleaner and be more of an every down force. His play versus the run is good, but not great. His pass rush is excellent at times and he understands team concepts on the defensive line, which is a major plus. Another year would help him If he comes out he he is likely a fifth round pick or greater and quite possibly a rookie free agent."
I'm surprised at this and maybe I don't know NFL football as well as I thought I did. I think he is a third-round pick at worst. I understand he could get better with another year in school, but I think he is capable of playing right now.
Chad Whitener, ILB, 6-0, 247, Mansfield, Texas/California
Whitener is not ranked on any of the draft sites, nor chosen in any of the NFL Mock Drafts. It is a slam dunk for him to be back in school and playing next season.