PITTSBURGH -- Mike Yurcich believes Mason Rudolph is unflappable.
Things can get hectic in a hurry for a quarterback in the pocket. But Rudolph will wait until he sees the best time to release a pass.
"Some guys, their heart beats like a dog," said Yurcich, Oklahoma State's offensive coordinator, on his former star quarterback and Steelers' third-round pick. "Others continue to strike balls down the field. That's Mason."
Rudolph teamed with wide receiver James Washington to break so many big plays in Stillwater that the Steelers had to draft both of them, setting the stage for dynamic playmaking at rookie minicamp Friday-Sunday.
To be sure, minicamp is 60 players running around in shorts. Actual football will not be on display. But the presence of Washington and Rudolph on the same NFL field deepens the intrigue about a combo that posted more than 4,000 collegiate yards and nearly 40 touchdowns in four years.
At the least, they can run a few deep balls for nostalgia.
Before Washington-Rudolph, seven receiver-quarterback duos had been drafted by the same NFL team in the same year, according to ESPN Stats and Information. None had more production than these two.
Rudolph, who probably won't play for a while behind Ben Roethlisberger, wants to keep the touchdown party going in practices and, eventually, games.
“I don’t know the last time this has happened in the history of the draft but to go on the next level, the next chapter, with one of your brothers with your best receiver that you’ve spent your whole college career with that you can potentially spend another 15 years with, that’s going to be one heck of a ride and I can’t wait to get it going," Rudolph said.
Yurcich has watched his duo connect on countless deep balls, and he's convinced there's a science to it. Rudolph has the touch and anticipation down with textbook lower-body distribution through each throw. And Washington has mastered the art of holding off a defensive back then accelerating at the last second to create separation.
"Remarkable at tracking the ball down," Yurcich said of the 5-foot-11 receiver. "Very unique in his lower body with power that helps him play like he's 6-foot-3."
The Cowboys were known for taking deep shots, which is what attracted the Steelers to Rudolph and Washington. The team drafted Washington in the second round to offset the loss of vertical threat Martavis Bryant, who was traded to the Oakland Raiders for a third-round pick. Rudolph was more of a luxury pick but brings instant practice chemistry with his old friend.
Even if rookie camp showcases minimal contact this weekend, Washington will be ready to win downfield.
"It all comes down to who wants it more, and nine times out of 10, I guarantee you I want it more," Washington said.