Quarterbacks Josh Rosen and Mason Rudolph share more in common than their position or the fact that each drew representatives of all 32 NFL teams to their respective Pro Day workouts Thursday.
Each is also attempting to create enough buzz to pass rivals, with Rosen currently second in NFLDraftScout.com’s QB rankings behind cross-town competitor Sam Darnold from Southern California and Rudolph second among senior passers to Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield.
Scouts in attendance of the workouts suggest that each player helped his cause Thursday, strengthening the argument that the 2018 draft class could match the NFL record set in 1983 with six quarterbacks earning first-round selections.
According to a longtime scout at the UCLA Pro Day, Rosen completed “just about everything” he threw Thursday, including several off-script passes requested by coaches attending the workout. There were plenty of big names at the event, including decision-makers for clubs holding top 10 picks and in need of quarterback help — like Cleveland Browns VP of Player Personnel Alonzo Highsmith, Denver Broncos’ general manager John Elway and head coach Vance Joseph, and New York Jets’ GM Mike Maccagnan.
Rosen “looked really good,” completing a variety of passes to all levels of the field, showing the trademark accuracy, zip and touch that has earned him praise throughout the process (including during the Combine throwing sessions) as the most polished passer in this year’s class.
The only real off-target throw of the day, in fact, came on a busted route by a receiver who appeared to pull a hamstring while tracking the ball. Even with his receiver slowing up, Rosen’s pass was “still a good ball,” according to the scout.
The scout further noted that there were “definite wind gusts” throughout the workout and that Rosen “handled them well, especially on deep balls.”
Rudolph was putting the finishing touches on his workout as Rosen was just warming up across the country.
Like Rosen, Rudolph threw the ball at the Combine about two weeks ago. Unlike Rosen, Rudolph needed a strong performance Thursday after a somewhat disappointing showing in Indianapolis.
He delivered Thursday with fellow future NFL draft picks James Washington and Marcel Ateman collecting the majority of his passes, according to a scout who attended the workout.
Rudolph completed 57 of 63 passes Thursday with two of those passes being simple drops by receivers. He was high on a few throws — including on a crossing pattern when Washington saved him with a terrific leaping grab — but otherwise “had a really solid workout and showed good trajectory and timing on the deeper throws today than before,” the scout said.
Rudolph will likely be given some slack by scouts because he threw in Indianapolis shortly after being unable to participate at the Senior Bowl due to a foot injury that put him in a walking boot.
The prototypically built 6-foot-5, 235-pound Rudolph checks in sixth among quarterbacks on NFLDraftScout.com’s board, 63rd overall.
The Pittsburgh Steelers were in full force Thursday with general manager Kevin Colbert and head coach Mike Tomlin among those representing the AFC North squad and speaking with Rudolph at the end of the workout.
Rudolph later shared with reporters that he has set meetings with six teams, although he would not divulge which out of respect to the franchises.
While Rudolph was the obvious star attraction, his top receiver — Washington — also boosted his cause Thursday. Washington not only turned in the catch of the day, he provided scouts with a quantifiable demonstration of his explosiveness Thursday morning, popping a 39-inch vertical jump, a 4.5-inch improvement from the Combine.
Built more like a running back than a receiver at 5-11, 213 pounds, Washington is eighth among wideouts on NFLDraftScout.com’s board and 70th overall.