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 reports, 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 Vice President of Player Personnel Alonzo Highsmith, Denver Broncos' general manager John Elway and head coach Vance Joseph, and New York Jets' GM Mike Maccagnan.
Rosen threw about 50 passes in front of roughly 100 personnel executives and coaches.
According to a scout on hand, 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.
"I think I put the ball where it needs to be, very accurately, better than everyone else," Rosen said, according to USA TODAY Sports. "That's what I do as a quarterback. I think (the quarterbacks in this class) are all incredible players, but I'm confident in my abilities."
The only real off-target throw of the day was because the receiver appeared to be injured running the route, although Rosen was said to have thrown a good ball. He also had one of the rare outdoor Pro Days and it was a windy day, although that did not appear to impact him.
"I thought he threw the ball beautifully. By the way, not a surprise," NFL Network's Mike Mayock said. "The most natural thrower in the draft. Clear feet. Clear vision. He's beautiful. His issue is going to be, in my opinion, durability and the ability to survive in the NFL pocket."
Among the questions being raised about Rosen is his perceived self-assurance and willingness to address potentially controversial topics. Rosen said that has not been the focus of the interviews he has had with teams.
"They haven't gotten too specific, more so just like, 'Can you speak to some of your mistakes in the past?' I say I've learned from them. I'm not going to sit here and say 'I'm sorry, I won't do it again,' because I wouldn't be doing them any justice," Rosen said, according to USA TODAY Sports. "I'm going to say how I've learned, how I've grown. There's a time and place for everything.
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) March 16, 2018
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.
🔊 "Mason Rudolph really lit it up at his Pro Day." - @BuckyBrooks
— Cowboy Football (@CowboyFB) March 15, 2018
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.