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Scouting the 2018 NFL Draft - Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

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Cactus Bowl - Kansas State v UCLA Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

Previously I took look at a polarizing quarterback prospect, Josh Allen. Next, I’ll take a look at one of the more revered quarterback prospects, UCLA alum Josh Rosen. Is he a guy the Jets should sell the farm to trade up and get?

Personal/Physical

Born: February 10, 1997 (Age 21 on draft day)

Hometown: Manhattan Beach, CA

Height: 6’4

Weight: 218

Career Stats

2015: 292/487 (60%), 3669 yards (7.5 Y/A), 23 TD, 11 INT, 134.3 rating (NCAA), 2 rush TD

2016: 137/231 (59%), 1915 yards (8.3 Y/A), 10 TD, 5 INT, 138.9 rating, 2 rush TD

2017: 282/451 (63%), 3717 yards, (8.2 Y/A), 26 TD, 10 INT, 146.3 rating, 2 rush TD

I watched the following games from Rosen’s 2017 season: Colorado, Washington, Arizona State, Texas A&M.

Positives

  • Positive statistical progression over career
  • Good field vision, quick to move through progressions
  • Pure pocket passer. Willing to stand in there, knows when to ditch, can set and deliver smoothly across the field
  • Senses pressure well and can make plays under duress
  • Works the middle of the field well, very efficient and comfortable between the numbers
  • Very reliable accuracy behind the line and within 5 yards
  • On time, accurate and powerful in intermediate range; outside numbers and inside
  • Very good arm, you won’t catch him missing short too often
  • Adept at out routes to the sideline
  • Efficient on the quarterback sneak
  • Can move defenders with his eyes as well as utilize the pump fake
  • Delivers in the red zone
  • Deep ball consistency can get better but absolutely showed the potential downfield multiple times, when he sets and fires he can drop them in the bucket
  • Clutch. Most represented by his insane 34-point comeback against Texas A&M
  • Good, fluid feet; not perfect, but he rarely airmails a ball

Negatives

  • A bit of an injury history, missed much of 2016 with a shoulder and final game of 2017
  • Not a great touch thrower over the top
  • Inconsistent on the deep pass, he has the arm but misses long quite a bit. As mentioned on last note he needs to have better touch deep
  • Didn’t demonstrate much of a threat outside the pocket; not as accurate as a thrower on the move and too hesitant to run
  • Isn’t much of a running threat
  • Tendency to make some very risky throws; does well keeping his eyes moving but is always looking for something positive, to a fault at times
  • Can fail to see a defender too often, makes too many throws that end up defended by a player he doesn’t recognize
  • Misses are usually strong or high
  • Character question marks

Game Notes

  • Solid game against Colorado. Went to work in the middle of the field and did a very nice job handling pressure, but missed some chances and lucked out a few times down the field. Wasn’t a wow game.
  • Didn’t produce in a rough game against Washington but it wasn’t on him. O-Line was mauled, receivers dropped catchable passes. Before leaving due to injury, Rosen did well to do his best standing in the pocket and delivering despite the circumstances. Bad day for the UCLA offense.
  • Up and down Arizona State game. Receivers dropped a lot of balls but also padded his stats with some big time screen plays and YAC downfield. If you want to evaluate Rosen’s full package, this is a good game to watch. He attacked a lot in this one. He dropped a few nice ones, but was very inconsistent and often way off down the field, missing some chances.
  • What a ride against Texas A&M. He was extremely clutch in leading the 34-point comeback, and posted a rediculous 491 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs, but he got away with a ton in this game. At least 2 “should-be” picks, and at least a few more “could-be.” But still, Rosen had to sling it to get the Bruins back into it and it worked out. He showed he has ice in his veins and can be a gunslinger when needed.

Film

Let’s start off with a few demonstrations of Rosen’s bread and butter. He is a pocket quarterback. He wants to stand in there, read the field, and deliver, even under pressure.

This play showcases a lot of Rosen’s best traits. He immediately recognizes this blitz. Instead of trying to extend the play outside or toss the ball away, he sets his feet and fires an accurate first down throw before getting smacked. Also want to note that this short out is a route he was consistently strong with.

Rosen is great at working the middle of the field. He also delivers in the red zone. Here (yes it is a gimmicky formation), Rosen checks his outside read (there were 3 receivers bunched on the right), comes right back inside and puts the perfect pass in between three defenders.

Deep ball accuracy is something Rosen can improve on, but arm strength is certainly not the issue when it comes to that facet of his game. It’s more of a touch issue. However, this play is a demonstration of his potential in that area. He looks over his first read, sees he has a shot downfield on his second, then sets and fires a dime of a bomb that is unfortunately dropped. All under a fairly contested, collapsing pocket.

You have to love this patience. Yeah, the pressure brought by the defense was minimal, but not many college quarterbacks showcase this. It’s easy for a QB to feel the need to go outside the pocket and cut the field in half for no reason on this play, but Rosen hangs tight until an easy throw opens up.

Let’s move on to some of the areas Rosen struggles. As good as he is at hanging tight and scanning the field, he made some mistakes due to a lack of awareness. On this play, this is already a tightly contested throw, but his failure to recognize the safety, who was already breaking on this ball before he threw it, leads to an easy pick.

On this play, after pulling out of the run fake Rosen seems to immediately decide where he is going with this ball, without accounting for the linebacker at all. The LB took a bit of a lean at the snap, but this shouldn’t fool a QB. I think Rosen just completely missed him or made a really bad decision thinking he could fit this ball.

Don’t mistake Rosen for one of those QBs who some think should consider switching to WR or RB. He’s not that. As you can clearly see, he wants to stay at home in the pocket as long as possible. He is not very fast and for the most part shies away from open field contact, looking to get what he can for free and take the sideline.

This play shows you the confidence he has in his run game. He has to use his legs and pick up this first down here.

Now, not to take away from the historic numbers and comeback against the Aggies, but I want to make sure you’re not fooled by that box score. Rosen’s first game of 2017 was not without it’s share of hiccups. This play demonstrates some of Rosen’s problems on the deep ball. He needs to set himself and lead this ball. Instead, this should’ve been an interception.

It wouldn’t be a Josh Rosen breakdown if this play weren’t included. Just.... wow. A fake spike and outside shoulder dime on the edge of the end zone to complete a 34-point comeback with 45 seconds left? You draft young quarterbacks hoping they give you moments like this one for years to come.

Other GGN Views:

David Wyatt: “From a talent perspective I have a lot of time for Rosen. Looks comfortable in the pocket, his footwork is tidy, he has a good arm and throws with timing, anticipation, and placement.”

“But man does his personality worry me, when it’s hard to find a single person who will vouch for you, that’s a tough sell.”

“On top of that, he seems to get injured a fair bit, some little nicks, some bigger issues that causes him to miss some time.”

Draft Grade: First Round

I like Rosen a lot. He has NFL qualities with his patience, field vision, pocket presence, and short range accuracy. Those things give me confidence he is one of the most Day 1-ready quarterbacks in the draft. If he can fine-tune his deep ball a bit, we’re looking at a pure pocket passer with anticipation, accuracy and velocity on every part of the field. That’s a recipe for something special. He is certainly a tier ahead of someone like Josh Allen, and is worthy of a top-five selection.

However, his struggles with seeing the whole field could be a roadblock to him starting right away. That’s an issue that NFL coaches will take advantage of. Jets fans might remember the oft-mentioned success Rex Ryan had against rookie quarterbacks, those things happen because of recognition issues like that. I feel like the combine interviews will be big for him, especially because of a few character doubts teams might have in him. There has been a ton of talk thrown around about Rosen’s lack of leadership, locker room issues, and his comments regarding a lack of desire to play for the Browns. He also has injury concerns over the past two years that aren’t promising. These two issues are going to play key roles in his evaluation over the next few months, and if teams don’t get the answers they want to these question marks (injury history, IQ, character concerns), that might cause a really great talent to slip a bit. Even if they don’t impact his position, these issues could be what holds him back from reaching his full potential down the line.

I don’t think Josh Rosen is a generational quarterback, but he is absolutely one of the very best quarterbacks in this draft and deserves to go however high he is picked. If I’m the Jets and I’m entering the first day of the draft still desperate for an answer at QB, I would be making every call I need to get the price it would take to get in position for Rosen instead of taking a gamble on the 3rd, 4th, or 5th quarterback off the board at #6.

Poll

Would you want the Jets to trade up for Josh Rosen?

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    Yes, whatever it takes
    (153 votes)
  • 50%
    Yes, at a resonable price
    (287 votes)
  • 22%
    He’s not worth it
    (125 votes)
565 votes total Vote Now