The 2018 NFL Draft is this week and Josh Rosen is one of the top prospects, expected to be taken in the first ten picks. With that in mind, here’s our complete scouting report on the former UCLA Bruins quarterback.
The 21-year-old Rosen is from California. He comes from an athletic family. Rosen’s father almost qualified for the Olympics as an ice skater in 1970’s before becoming a spine surgeon. His mother was the captain of her college lacrosse team at Princeton before becoming a journalist.
Rosen’s first sport was tennis. He was ranked a top-10 junior tennis player in the country before suffering an injury, allowing him to focus on football full-time.
Rosen played QB at national powerhouse St. John Bosco high school in California. He became Los Angeles Times player of the year, throwing 90 TD’s while still maintaining a 4.3 GPA. Rosen was a five-star recruit and regarded as the best QB and overall recruit in his class.
Rosen went on to become a three-year starter at UCLA, leading him to where he is now.
In his first season as a true freshman at UCLA, Rosen started all 13 games for the Bruins. In that time he completed 60 percent of his passes, throwing for 3,669 yards, 23 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. In the bowl game against Nebraska, Rosen managed to complete 65 percent of his passes for 319 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions in a losing effort.
After the Bruins’ game against Arizona State in 2016, Rosen missed the majority of the season with a shoulder injury.
Going into his third season and what was expected to be his final season at UCLA, Rosen’s expectations were high and he was looked at as one of the top quarterback prospects for the 2018 NFL Draft. Rosen completed 62.6 percent of his passes for 3,756 yards, 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The Bruins were in the Cactus Bowl against Kansas State, where Rosen didn’t play. There were concerns of him intentionally sitting out of the game but the UCLA staff assured that Rosen’s absence was completely due to concussion-like symptoms.
Rosen is the prototypical pocket passer, standing six-foot-four and weighing 226 pounds. He’s an average athlete for the position, but not statuesque in the pocket. Rosen did have exploratory shoulder surgery as a sophomore, but he came back in his junior season, making opposite hash throws like this one, and dispelled any doubts about his arm strength.
In other words, if you wanted to build a quarterback prospect, Rosen would probably be the default settings.
Mechanically, Rosen is especially clean. He has the best footwork in the draft, polished from years of playing tennis before he committed full-time to football. Rosen throws from an overhand slot with a fast throwing motion.
He takes care of small details in his game, too: showing the football when selling a play-action fake, using shoulder fakes or pump fakes to stall the defense, and resetting by stepping up in the pocket. Rosen does a great job of maintaining his throwing platform on the move, allowing him to duck pressure and fire off a throw, or spin the ball while throwing on the run.
Because of his exceptional mechanics, Rosen has some of the best throwing accuracy in this year’s draft. He can accurately deliver deep balls over 50 yards downfield, and can place passes in stride along the sidelines at up to 30 yards.
Rosen often leads his receivers to catch the ball at a particular shoulder, to take them away from incoming defenders. Sometimes, Rosen will go through a stretch with less precision, causing his receivers to leap or dive to catch his passes, but he eventually flips a switch and tightens up his mechanics in the next quarter.
Processing speed and decision-making
Rosen’s ability to read and understand the movements of players around the field is advanced. He understands how route concepts match up against coverage, uses his eyes to bait defenders, and progresses through full-field reads at good speed.
He can anticipate players coming open, even when the player isn’t his initial read on the play.
With his experience reading multiple levels of the field, Rosen already shows a veteran’s understanding of the mental side of the passing game. But that’s not the only topic we’ll cover here.
Josh Allen isn’t the only quarterback in this draft who likes to play Hero Ball. Despite Rosen’s advanced field reading and anticipation, he still flashes a tendency to make some boneheaded, high-risk decisions, often at the worst times. In the red zone, Rosen only completed 47.8 percent of his passes (second-worst among the top six QB prospects) and threw 4 interceptions, most among the top six quarterbacks. When playing with a single-score deficit, Rosen only managed six touchdowns against four interceptions, a ratio only equaled by Sam Darnold. Surprisingly, Allen, whose stats were otherwise awful, never threw any interceptions in those clutch situations.
If you could train out Rosen’s tendency to throw across his body or toss up the ball near a deep safety, you’d elevate his profile from Eli Manning to Peyton Manning. He’s not there yet.
The case for and against Josh Rosen
The case for Rosen
The most pro-ready quarterback in the class, Rosen’s consistent mechanics allow him to deliver the same type of catchable ball on virtually every throw. His feet are in line with his eyes which allows him to throw a consistent spiral, with the right amount of touch. As with Josh Allen, Rosen has significant experience in a system that features pro-style reads and formations. Rosen often throws with anticipation and is able to lead receivers into the open areas of the field on short and intermediate throws. Rosen sports above-average measurables with 6’4”, 226 pounds with 9 7/8 inch hands. He frequently displayed the courage to stand in the pocket and get pounded while delivering the ball.
Rosen clearly has the intelligence, accuracy, and arm strength to work in most systems, although Brian Daboll’s Erhardt-Perkins (E-P) passing offense in particular would fit him like a glove. Rosen’s lack of mobility wouldn’t allow Daboll to run some of his zone-read looks, but his passing talent would more than make up for that deficiency.
The case against Rosen
Rosen’s injury history is extensive and he was never able to finish a college season completely healthy. Not the most mobile player, Rosen will need to develop his pocket presence and footwork if he wants to avoid big hits. Rosen is an inconsistent deep ball thrower. On tape, some of his deep passes tend to flutter. Throughout the 2017 season, Rosen was overly aggressive and pressing too much. In games against Texas A&M, Stanford, and Arizona he threw several ill-advised throws that could have been intercepted.
(By Dan Lavoie)
In terms of the film, Rosen’s evaluation is practically a no-brainer. While he sometimes takes unnecessary risks with the football, and the right combination of pressure can force him into a sack, everything else about his game is mature and NFL-ready. Rosen has the athletic talent and processing speed to be an instant impact player in an NFL offense, and if he addresses his occasional lapses in precision and decision-making, his upside is tremendous.
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