With under two weeks to go until the NFL draft and the Jets preparing to make their most paramount selection since Mark Sanchez, let’s put the top quarterback prospects under the microscope again. Leading up to the draft, I’ll try and pin a reasonable ceiling and floor for each of the consensus top five quarterback prospects. We’ll start with Josh Rosen.
First off, what is a “ceiling” and what is a “floor?” I see a ceiling as the realistic best-case vision a team has for a player in the distant future when his career is complete; the version of that player a team believes it can mold in its culture and scheme with proper time and coaching plus the necessary work ethic from the player. We’ll find a comparable player who closely matches the ideal best version of the prospect, and vise versa.
Ceiling: Peyton Manning
Josh Rosen is the best pocket passer in this draft, bar none. He showcases incredible patience and poise in the pocket, staying home as long as possible while possessing a great sense for the rush and the ability to throw coolly and calmly under pressure.
Off the field, Rosen has made headlines for his inquisitive personality and unique sense of self-confidence. He acknowledges his wealthy background compared to his peers and is very vocal with his honest thoughts on any question posed to him. His “coachability” and leadership are among the question marks posed in many of his scouting reports, but it seems from those who know him best and from his intelligent demeanor that Rosen is far from a malcontent and more of an, as mentioned earlier, inquisitive young player who will not settle for “yes sir” and seek to question and gain as much knowledge as possible.
I don’t want to put too much stock into a produced documentary video, but this workout with Aaron Rodgers is really interesting and I feel gives us a look into the personality that has polarized evaluators.
That will brush some the wrong way, but a team willing to buy into that personality could mold something great with that confidence and meticulous nature.
All of that reminds me of Peyton Manning. A tall, disciplined pocket passer with a strong leadership style and the willingness to question. Manning was always known for his borderline insanity in preparation and was never a classic, cliche leader. Rosen strikes the same chord.
In addition, Rosen is similar to Manning in his entering the NFL from a “privileged” background. Not so much as a talented-by-blood quarterback, but as someone who comes from a much more privileged family than his peers - and acknowledges it.
They match-up physically as well.
If Rosen can stay healthy and a locker room can buy into his personality, he has all the talent to be the worldly pocket passer Peyton was as an absolute best case. Even if he doesn’t hit that pinnacle, a more realistic but still successful comparison would be the younger Manning, Eli, who also is a pocket passer with very similar measurables but didn’t quite hit the same level of dominance as Peyton.
Floor: Sam Bradford
Injuries are a legitimate question for Josh Rosen. Before college, he suffered a shoulder injury while playing tennis that ended his tennis career. He was limited to six games in his sophomore year because of another shoulder injury. He then missed the Cactus Bowl in his junior year due to a concussion.
When you mention “injuries” and “quarterback” in the same sentence, most people’s first thought is Sam Bradford. Bradford had all the tools to be a number one pick but has seen his timeline thrown off by injuries. In the rare time he’s been on the field (80 of 128 possible career games, 63%), his ceiling has been “game manager.” Bradford was terribly inefficient to start his career in St. Louis, but has gotten better with age, finding decent success in Philadelphia and Minnesota. His completion percentage over the last three seasons is a scorching 68.6%, to go with 42 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. As a Viking, he is 9-8 in 17 starts with a 101.1 quarterback rating.
If injuries continue to bug Rosen, I could see him having a Bradford-esque career in which he never finds a permanent home or nears Pro Bowl levels, but finds a way to stay in the league with his pocket ability and accuracy.
I think he is strong enough in those two areas to at the very least least stick as a lower-tier starter as long as his injuries do not become career-threatening.
Josh Rosen’s career?
This poll is closed
No-Brainer Hall of Famer (Brady/Rodgers)
Elite Perennial Pro Bowler (Wilson/Ryan)
Notch Below Elite Pro Bowler (Rivers/Newton/Stafford)
Good/Decent longterm starter (A. Smith/E. Manning)
Solid spot starter (Bradford/Taylor)
Done after rookie contract (Sanchez, RG3)