It’s not every year that a quarterback comes along with the physical attributes and skill-set of Josh Rosen. So NFL teams should be salivating to land a player with Rosen’s potential, right? Well, that’s where the crazy stories and the pre-draft speculation have run rampant with Rosen more so than any other player in this year’s draft.
All of the discussions about Rosen definitely have received a lot of traction but none more than the following quote about Rosen from his former UCLA Bruins Head Coach Jim Mora on the NFL Network’s, “Path to the Draft”:
“I would take Sam Darnold if I was the Cleveland Browns. I think that blue collar, gritty attitude. I think his teammates will love him, I think the city will love him,” Mora said. “He’ll say the right things, he’ll come in and represent well. I think he kind of represents what Cleveland is. And if I was one of the New York teams, I’d take Josh like [snaps fingers] that. I think they’re both going to be great pros.”
This statement was on the heels of Mora talking to Peter King about the fact that Rosen has to be challenged intellectually so he doesn’t get bored.
So thanks to Jim Mora, the fervor around Josh Rosen and his ability to lead a NFL franchise continued to play as one of the top stories in this year’s draft.
Let’s get to the specifics of Josh Rosen from my perspective. So what makes Josh Rosen the best quarterback in the 2018 draft?
Rosen is a near perfect pocket quarterback in terms of the mechanics of being a quarterback. These mechanics, combined with Rosen’s arm strength, allow him to complete any pass on the field, skinny posts, deep posts, seam routes, deep outs, quick slants, heck even bubble screens. There is not a throw he cannot make. However, the trait that I constantly harped on this year was the fact that Rosen delivers the ball where receivers can make football plays after they catch the ball. Josh Rosen throws a beautiful and accurate ball, period! For many quarterbacks this accuracy becomes a problem under pressure, but Rosen’s accuracy was also on display when he was under pressure. The clip below is one of my favorite that just exemplifies Rosen’s grit in the face of pressure.
Rosen is fearless and his knowledge of the game allows him to quickly diagnose defenses and hit the hot routes when necessary.
Mobility is obviously one of Rosen’s major weaknesses. He maneuvers in the pocket enough to stay out of trouble but still has trouble escaping pressure. This in turn leads to another weakness which has been his durability. Rosen missed games due to injury the last two seasons and that’s a concern.
Another area of growth for Rosen is throwing the deep ball for accuracy. I know that contradicts a little of what I said in terms of his strengths, but Rosen can definitely improve his accuracy with deep passes.
Lastly, Rosen has not seen a throw he does not like, or a throw that he feels he can’t make. This has caused him to force throws at certain times, and these decisions will have to improve at the next level.
The NFL Network was making some interesting comparisons. Trent Green and Phillip Rivers came up during the conversation. I can see those comparisons, but it is funny that the comparison that I make is with the quarterback that he might possibly become a teammate of, which is Eli Manning. The NFL Network actually brought up Eli’s brother, the guy that does the Nationwide commercials. I think the Eli comparison is more accurate.
My projection is that Josh Rosen will be the first UCLA player to be picked in the top three of the NFL Draft since Eric Turner was selected No. 2 by the Cleveland Browns in 1991. The four draft gurus from NFL.com have Rosen being selected in the top three picks. UCLA’s Maurice Jones-Drew is predicting Rosen is going to the New York Football Giants with the number two pick.
With that being said, others do not even have Rosen in the top 10 picks, as evidenced by Matt Miller’s picks.
Quick and dirty top 10 from me before we record #MockDraftMonday— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) April 15, 2018
1 CLE - Darnold
2 NYG - Barkley
3 NYJ - Allen
4 CLE - Chubb
5 DEN - Mayfield
6 IND - Edmunds
7 TB - Fitzpatrick
8 CHI - Nelson
9 SF - Roquan Smith
10 OAK - Denzel Ward
This type of draft board should get Matt Miller moved to giving traffic updates, but this belief is obviously out there.
I would not be shocked to see quarterbacks go one, two and three. But a more realistic look has me sticking to my prediction from the start that UCLA’s Josh Rosen will be wearing green and white as he goes to the Jets with the number three pick.