Welcome to the start of the path to the 2018 NFL Draft in April. For those of you who are wondering, I will be addressing the Super Bowl this weekend in article form, but for now I will begin a series of scouting overviews. Of course, we will start with quarterbacks. This past week I looked at four games of Josh Rosen’s college tape at UCLA. The following is what I believe will translate into his pro game.
Unbelievable Arm Strength and Accuracy
This is the current argument for Rosen’s great translation into a pro-style offense. Rosen’s short-game accuracy is unmatched by any quarterback entering this draft. He makes quick decisions out of play-action and 3-step drops. One thing that stands out is his spiral. Rosen spins the ball perfectly on almost every single pass, and this allows him to fit passes into tighter windows than most players on his level can. He throws low to avoid tipped balls, and his placement allows receivers to get upfield and make big plays after the catch. Rosen’s middle field vision is fantastic. The only knock I have on his short pass game is that sometimes on sideline routes he gives corners a chance to jump the pass. This is due to staring down receivers on out routes, but can be improved as he has done so with many details throughout his college career.
Deep-Ball Talent is there, but Needs Improvement
Rosen is at his worst when he puts air under the football. His best downfield passing plays are crossing routes at about 15-20 yards downfield so he can throw the ball relatively flat; a bullet pass. Any further downfield than that can lead to forced or not well thought through passes. Sometimes, he gets lucky, but other times he has thrown untimely late game interceptions. Seam routes have also been a struggle. Rosen tends to try not putting air under the ball on these passes. This leads to awkward looking incompletions, and sometimes under thrown balls that are intercepted. Yet, he clearly has the skillset to make these throws. UCLA did not ask for Rosen to throw the ball downfield much, and it may be that he just needs the right coach to improve this part of his game.
Josh Rosen will be a pocket passer at the professional level. He consistently shows strengths in pocket awareness. Rosen is not afraid to stand in and take hits while delivering the ball downfield. Unfortunately there is a slight downside to this as he tends to take hits that he shouldn’t. With an injury history like Rosen’s (which we will get to in a moment), pro scouts would like to see him take less of these hits. Rosen has shown tremendous growth in his ability to go through progressions and quickly deliver accurate passes. Last year, he used to have trouble getting locked on to single receivers. This would lead to unnecessary sacks. His Senior year production shows his amazing ability to learn and process new attributes of the game. His ability to go through progressions has continues to get better, and will be a strength of his game at the next level.
Early on in his college career Rosen made lots of rushed and careless mistakes when the pocket broke down, but lately he has demonstrated an ability to avoid such mistakes by getting outside of the pocket on broken plays. Rosen has an above average ability to throw the ball on the run, and makes smart decisions with the ball like throwing it away when needed. Although he needs to learn to slide at the end of runs, he also has been effective when scrambling. Rosen is labeled as slow, but I could see him running a faster 40 time than expected.
Debatable Off-Field Issues
Rosen’s comments on SAT requirements at Alabama make him look like an entitled kid from California, but it does show a competitive spirit. Rosen is not afraid to say what he thinks, and based off his development through college, I sense that he is a very smart individual. Intangibles will be the reason he drops in the draft if he does. Besides that, physically he has a thin frame but makes up for it with a strong arm. He has a long injury history and sometimes takes unneeded hits on the field. These injuries include concussions, and problems with shoulders, hands, and wrists. Rosen plays well in the face of on-field adversity and learns from in-game mistakes, which makes him a great competitor.
Overall: Rosen and this entire QB draft may be slightly overrated, but in a west coast scheme with an offensive minded coach he will have similar success to Jared Goff of the Los Angeles Rams.
Photo Credit: Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images
All Rights Reserved – Nick Merriam – 2018