With Troy Apke selected earlier in the day, Penn State has now had more than one defensive back drafted in the same weekend for the first time since 2006, when Calvin Lowry, Alan Zemaitis and converted receiver Ethan Kilmer were picked.
Instead, the Steelers must have had a notion the Bengals wanted Rudolph or another quarterback and did whatever it took to get in front of the Bengals' two picks. While the trade cost them only a limited amount of draft capital, requiring only a seventh-round pick to get the Oakland Raiders to agree to the deal, many were left wondering why the Steelers felt they could not wait for three more picks to pass before they took him.
Washington was selected with the 60th overall pick in the second round, becoming the Cowboys' eighth player selected in the first two rounds of the draft since 2009. Rudolph, on the other hand, will step into the role of understudy to Steeler legend Ben Roethlisberger.
Roethlisberger, 36, has said he will return for the 2018 season, but his future beyond that point remains in the air.
But Washington gradually slid down draft lists, primarily because of his measurables, standing 5-11 and running a 4.54-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine.
Mason Rudolph completed 65.0% of his passes for 4,904 yards 37 touchdown and nine interceptions. While Washington does not have the same pure speed as Bryant, the Steelers can hope he is a more rounded receiver than can complement a young receiving unit.
Washington's selection marks the latest in a tradition of success for OSU wide receivers in the National Football League draft, as he joins Justin Blackmon, Dez Bryant, Rashaun Woods and Hart Lee Dykes as early-round picks at the position.