The culmination of a lifetime of hard work will help a handful of former Oklahoma State Cowboys realize a lifelong dream this coming weekend. This year’s NFL Draft will be held in Arlington, Texas, at the Dallas Cowboys AT&T Stadium. Several Oklahoma State Cowboys will hear their name called at this weekend’s draft. See where NFL Draft expert Charles Davis sees Mason Rudolph going in the draft, hear who his player comparison is for James Washington, and more below.
I spoke with NFL Draft Expert and Analyst, Charles Davis, and got his take on what Oklahoma State fans can expect come Thursday.
Which OSU player will come off the board first?
“I would say Rudolph because of the run on quarterbacks. I think all the big quarterbacks will go before we get to pick No. 12. Picks 12-15, I think you’re talking about the top guys going, then you’re likely still left with Lamar Jackson and Mason at that time. I think teams that are quarterback needy will either move up or they’ll go ahead and make their selection then, so I’ll pick Mason ahead of James Washington.”
Charles is absolutely right here, all of the big time quarterbacks will probably be gone before pick No. 20, and I can’t see any slipping past the Patriots at the end of the first round. That being said, don’t be surprised to see some teams trade up to take one of the coveted quarterbacks in this draft. James Washington is a great talent, but he could very easily slip to the second round.
What team is the best fit for Mason Rudolph?
“I’m going to give you an off the wall one, the Philadelphia Eagles. I don’t know that they will go there, just because they’ve held onto Nick Foles, but it would be the ideal type of team for him. A lot of run-pass option plays in there, they’re used to doing it as a part of their offense. It’s a lot of stuff that he did in college that he can adapt to pretty easily. It fits really well even though it’s probably not realistic.
The rest of the league is kind of adding [the RPO offense] more and more to their repertoire, so I think that the next [team] that I would pick would be the Minnesota Vikings. That might be a little bit more realistic. They gutted their quarterback crew, Teddy Bridgewater is no longer there, Case Keenum is no longer there, Sam Bradford is no longer there. They picked up Kirk Cousins, but I think that Minnesota would be a great spot for him to go. The new offensive coordinator there was the quarterbacks coach at Philadelphia, so I think that would fit him pretty well.”
As Charles mentioned, the Vikings offense is fairly similar to what Mason ran at Oklahoma State. Another team to keep an eye on is the New England Patriots. They won’t trade up for him, but if Rudolph is still on the board when they pick at No. 31, don’t be surprised if you see the Patriots pull the trigger and draft him as the potential heir to Tom Brady’s throne.
Is Mason Rudolph getting an appropriate amount of respect on draft boards?
“I think he’s actually getting probably a little bit of extra respect because he is a quarterback, and all those guys are going high. I think it’s worked out well; he’s getting more than enough respect on draft boards.”
This year’s draft is top heavy with quarterbacks, and that’s contributing to Rudolph’s “inflated” draft stock. In past years he may have fallen to the second round, but he should definitely hear his name called on Thursday night.
Which OSU player will have the best NFL career?
“I have a hard time projecting that one. Quarterbacks are a funny animal because they come off differently than other guys. Washington does such a good job of being a running back after he catches it, I think he’s got a chance, after he finds his route running and all, but that’s an opportunity that he can grab. I see him almost like a mini Jarvis Landry type, his game has actually been more downfield than Landry’s has, but I think that he can adapt and catch the short stuff and turn it into longer plays. I would say Washington. Quarterbacks I just kind of keep out of the mix because there’s just no telling what’s going to happen with them.”
This is a two horse race between Rudolph and Washington. Mason is much more vulnerable to being perceived as a “bust” than Washington just because he is a quarterback.
It's officially NFL Draft week! Before we get there, let's take a few minutes to relive every Rudolph to Washington touchdown at #okstate. pic.twitter.com/Q6I5Nogeiq— Cowboy Football (@CowboyFB) April 22, 2018
Player Comparisons for Mason Rudolph and Marcell Ateman?
“I don’t really have one for Ateman, I mean Ateman reminds me a little bit of a guy in the draft named Auden Tate from Florida State, they’re very similar body guys. A lot of their damage is in the red zone, they play over the top of people, so they are very similar players that way.
With Mason, the reason I came up with Philadelphia was there’s a lot of Nick Foles to his game. I just see them, these big, tall, strapping lads who can run the RPOs. You look at them and you think they’re not great runners - and they’re really not - but they fool you at times too. They are smart with the ball, know what they’re doing and can run the offense for you. [They are] attentive guys and good guys in the locker room.”
Rudolph fits the body-type and skillset of Foles, but also has similar personality and leadership qualities. As for Ateman, I can see him being similar to Will Fuller with the Houston Texans, although Auden Tate is an astute comparison as well.
Who is more NFL ready, James Washington or Marcell Ateman?
“I just think that Washington’s speed gives him a big advantage. His ability to be able to run; a lot of his plays obviously were over the top. As I said before, refining route running will be big for him, that’s something I’m sure he’s been working on heavily this spring. I like his hands, I like his determination with the ball after the catch, I like his toughness, and I’m eager to see where he ends up going. Washington, I think, could be a second round guy who could end up having a pretty big year.”
I’m more biased than Charles is here, but I think there is a chance James Washington could go in the first round. However, I agree that it is most likely that he goes in the second round. How successful Washington’s first year in the league is will probably depend on where he ends up getting drafted, but he’s definitely a guy who has the ability to have a big year.
Where will Tre Flowers get drafted?
“I think he’ll be a day 3 draft pick, which means round 4-7, somewhere in that range. Everybody’s looking for those safeties that can cover the tight ends and slot guys, and come down in the run game and make some plays as well. The safety has become more and more valuable as the tight ends have gotten better and better in the league, so I definitely think Tre Flowers ends up getting drafted. I do think day 3, but hopefully it’ll be earlier than that for him.”
Flowers likely won’t go in the first three rounds of the draft, but he will be a highly-valued prospect in the later rounds. I could see Flowers going in the fifth round, and his ability to contribute immediately on special teams will only enhance his draft stock.
You can check Charles out on the NFL Network this weekend during their coverage of the 2018 NFL Draft. Draft coverage starts on Thursday at 7 p.m. for coverage of the first round. You can follow the draft on a variety of channels, including FOX, NFL Network, ESPN, ESPN2 and more. Here’s to wishing all of our Cowboys the best of luck this weekend, and a big thank you to Charles Davis for taking the time to answer questions on one of his busiest weeks of the year.