The Cleveland Browns and New England Patriots are light years apart in terms of wins and dominance, but the Browns have a chance to change their misfortune. The scary part for the rest of the NFL is that the Patriots can do the same. Both teams have a shot in the 2018 NFL Draft to grab their quarterback of the future in Mason Rudolph from Oklahoma State University.
While Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, Sam Darnold, and Baker Mayfield have garnered much attention, Rudolph has flown under the radar. But what’s the difference between the supposedly top four QBs and the OSU product? Not much when comparing stats.
There’s no telling who will be the first QB selected.
Allen threw for 1,812 yards, 16 touchdowns, and six interceptions while completing 56.3 percent of his passes in 11 games. In 11 games, Rosen threw for 3,756 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions while completing 62.6 percent of his passes. Darnold completed 63.1 percent of his passes for 4,143 yards with 23 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 14 games. Mayfield, in 14 games, passed for 4,627 yards, 46 touchdowns, and six interceptions while completing 70.5 percent of his passes. Then you compare Rudolph and what he was able to do in 13 games where he passed for 4,904 yards, 37 touchdowns, and nine interceptions while completing 65 percent of his passes. It’s a tough decision.
While some of the names are bigger for whatever reason, Mason Rudolph has more than held his own in terms of production. To say he will be the steal of the 2018 NFL Draft is an understatement. But there will be doubters, as one AFC scouting director said when asked about Mason Rudolph.
“He’s playing in a great, quarterback-friendly offense. Probably has a top 10-caliber group of receivers. Gundy is a great coach and does an outstanding job with that offense. I’m not sold on him as a top guy… He’s a decent athlete. He’s tough and runs that offense well. But not sure the video game numbers he’s gonna put up this year will translate to the NFL.”
But then again, when Brady came out of Michigan, scouts weren’t so nice to him either.
“Poor build, Skinny, Lacks great physical stature and strength, Lacks mobility and ability to avoid the rush, Lacks a really strong arm, Can’t drive the ball downfield, Does not throw a really tight spiral, System-type player who can get exposed if forced to ad lib, Gets knocked down easily.”
The Patriots must begin to think about life without Tom Brady. Even at the age of 40, Brady is still better than 90 percent of the QBs in the NFL. The issue is, well, he’s 40. At some point, his body will begin to show signs of his age. It’s happened to the best of them before Brady, including Joe Montana, Brett Favre, Dan Marino, and John Elway, just to name a few. Brady is no different.
What has to sting for the Patriots is that they had their signal-caller of the future in Jimmy Garroppolo but instead of grooming, they traded, and now he’s set to lead the San Francisco 49ers’ rebuild. This is why the Patriots have no choice but to draft Randolph in the first round. Because if they don’t, the Browns will be all over him.
The Browns have been the poster franchise for picks gone wrong when it comes to drafting QB. Despite their numerous setbacks, the Browns are possibly in their best position ever to right the ship. Yeah I know, this has been said every season, but this 2018 offseason has been like a solar eclipse for the Browns. Smart trades, better decision-making on free agents, and with the No. 1 and No. 4 picks in the draft, they could improve on both sides of the ball.
But here’s the kicker: Many experts have the Browns selecting Sam Darnold at No. 1 then going defensive with the fourth overall pick. The truth is, the Browns don’t need Darnold, Rosen, or Mayfield early; Rudolph is the guy they should target.
The issue is that the Pats have the 23rd and 31st pick, and if they’re serious about grooming their next Brady, then Rudolph could be gone by the time the Browns are up at 33. Belichick may take a chance like he did with Jimmy Garoppolo and let Rudolph simmer on the bench at least for another season until the torch can be passed.
The Browns are in a similar situation. With an offseason trade with the Buffalo Bills to acquire Tyrod Taylor, the Browns, according to ESPN, have their starting QB heading into the 2018 season. Much like the Patriots’ situation, Rudolph will have to wait to make his presence felt.
No matter where he ends up, the Patriots or the Browns, Rudolph will get a chance to lead a franchise soon enough. He may not be as decorated as the others, but after a year of learning, he could be in the best position to succeed.