Mason Rudolph is a late first-round pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars, a playoff team with quarterback questions, in the latest mock draft from ESPN’s Mel Kiper.
Kiper mapped out the first three rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft, and he projected Rudolph to go No. 29 overall to Jacksonville. The former Oklahoma State quarterback was the sixth passer taken in the first round of Kiper’s mock, which would be an NFL draft record.
Rudolph could go anywhere from the end of the first round to early in the third round. That’s a wide range, but it represents the various opinions about the 6-5, 235-pound signal-caller, who had 92 touchdown passes and only 26 interceptions in his college career. Rudolph throws a beautiful deep ball, but he’s a little stiff. In this case, he might be the best available QB option for Jacksonville at pick No. 29. And I don’t think Jacksonville is set for the long-term with Blake Bortles.
The Jaguars advanced the AFC Championship last season in spite of some uninspired play from Bortles, the former No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft. They recently signed him to a 3-year extension, a shorter commitment than teams normally make for a franchise quarterback.
If the Jaguars took Rudolph, he would probably have the opportunity to sit on the bench and develop for most of his rookie season. Then he could step in and benefit from a dominant running game with Leonard Fournette and some dangerous receiving threats with Keelan Cole, Marqise Lee and Dede Westbrook.
The 2018 NFL Draft kicks off Thursday, April 26.