Josh Rosen, UCLA (Junior)
Ever since he stepped into the starting quarterback job at UCLA in 2015, NFL teams have been waiting to get their hands on Josh Rosen. After putting together an impressive first season as a true freshmen, Rosen had been anointed as an eventual first round draft prospect and potential franchise quarterback, due to his reputation as one of the most physically talented passers in recent memory. However, a second season, that began with high expectations, proved to be tumultuous one for UCLA.
Rosen’s 2016 got off a to rocky start with a one touchdown and three interception performance as UCLA fell in overtime at Texas A&M. Although Rosen continued to display his calling card arm strength and overall arm talent throughout the next five games, UCLA roller-coasted their way to a mediocre 3-3 start. Furthermore, a career high 400 yard performance was marred by a shoulder injury that would end Rosen’s season. What’s more, reports began to swirl that Rosen was an excessive partier who was not well-liked by his teammates and was not completely focused on football. Prior to the 2017 season he even went as far as to go on record publicly criticizing the NCAA in a controversial interview. Naturally, the publicity Rosen was receiving for his off field behavior has lead scouts scouts to question his leadership, maturity, and whether he possesses to intangibles to be the face of an NFL franchise. Josh answered these criticisms In the 2017 season opener with a 491 yard and four touchdown performance in a breathtaking comeback win versus Texas A&M.
The 2017 season has seen Josh largely return to the form of his freshman season, when scouts fell in love with him. Everything about Rosen’s mechanics is impeccable, from his throwing motion and quick release, all the way down to his footwork. As I mentioned before, he also possesses NFL caliber arm strength. One of the few knocks on Rosen is that he doesn’t often look past his first reads and thus is susceptible to making ill advised throws. Nevertheless, this problem of questionable decision making is definitely something thats solvable.
In terms of his on field product, there is a lot to love about Josh Rosen. What has scouts worried are his intangibles or lack thereof. Rosen seems to give off the impression that he thinks he’s smarter than everyone. This has NFL personnel wondering whether or not he’s coachable. Additionally, in the post Johnny Manziel era that we live in, any rumbling that a college kid might like to party (go figure?) will raise concerns from NFL teams. Although issues like these might prevent him from becoming the first pick in the draft next May, I don’ t see Rosen slipping out of the top half of the first round. While he has not yet done enough to dethrone Sam Darnold, one should still fully expect to hear Rosen’s name called as one of the top two quarterbacks in the draft.