The Rosen One

By: Alec Garcia (@alecbruins)
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The NFL Draft is one week from today. Soon, Josh Rosen will have a new NFL city to call home and he will be expected to be the face of a franchise at 21 years old. Rosen is the most polarizing prospect in this years draft by a wide margin. He’s been maligned by the media and off the record by some NFL personnel. His love for football has been questioned. His toughness has been questioned. Rosen’s arm talent, however, has never been questioned.

Josh Rosen has always been a special talent on the football field. He was the top ranked QB recruit in the 2015 class, according to 247Sports Recruiting after throwing for 8,473 yards with 90 touchdowns during his career at St. John Bosco High in Bellflower, California. He was named UCLA’s starting QB as a true freshman and it didn’t take long for him to burst on to the national scene. In his first collegiate game versus Virginia, Rosen went 28/35 for 351 yards with 3 TD’s and 0 INT’s. The hype train began shortly there after. Looking back at Rosen’s freshman season although he was very successful on the field the things he did off the field garnered the most attention. Whether it was the “F--k Trump” hat worn at the President’s own golf course or the infamous hot tub in his dorm room. (Side note: #ThatsMyQB) 

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It’s important to note that Josh Rosen has never been arrested. He’s never been suspended. He’s never failed a drug test. It’s his mind and voice that concerns teams because the NFL is still very traditional at its core. However, more athletes are beginning to speak their mind on things like social issues. This could in fact be the best time for a Josh Rosen type personality in the league.

His off the field quips are discussed frequently. His on field ability though, is rarely questioned. The fact that the biggest knocks against Josh Rosen are "He's too small", "He was injured" and "He doesn't even like football" should tell you everything you need to know. No one ever has any football related complaints. It’s widely accepted Josh Rosen is the most NFL ready, pure passer in this draft. It’s been said he is the most physically gifted QB prospect since John Elway. Rosen looks like he was built in a lab but he is far from robotic. Usually quarterbacks who are so mechanically sound tend to look stiff but that’s just not the case with Rosen.

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Josh Rosen is not the perfect draft prospect by any means...

He has on field flaws just like the other quarterbacks in this draft. The difference is, pointing out the “weaknesses” in Rosen’s game is mostly nitpicking.  He has the tendency to play “hero ball” because he truly believes he can make every throw. Now whether that is through his own faults or he’s just a product of his surroundings remains to be seen. At UCLA, he had a knack for trying to do too much, he would take risks instead of making the available throw. Raising the talent level around him could change that and make him play within a system.

Rosen is also more known for his touch than his ability to just drive the ball. There are instances where he left deep balls short. Rosen doesn’t have exceptional arm strength, he has a good arm and he consistently succeeded with timing, anticipation and accuracy. Josh lacks the ability to extend most plays with his legs but the pocket is where he will make his money. Rosen is superior to his peers in that regard, he has tremendous footwork that allows him to climb up in the pocket and deliver strikes. Let’s take a look at some game clips for a closer look at his game:

 Rosen executed a play fake to his running back before setting up in the pocket connecting on a perfectly placed deep ball 40 yards down the field.

Rosen executed a play fake to his running back before setting up in the pocket connecting on a perfectly placed deep ball 40 yards down the field.

 This is a throw that just not many guys can make. Rosen threads the needle here to throw his receiver open. 

This is a throw that just not many guys can make. Rosen threads the needle here to throw his receiver open. 

 Rosen shows some mobility escaping the pocket delivering a precise pass that led to a 62-yard TD.

Rosen shows some mobility escaping the pocket delivering a precise pass that led to a 62-yard TD.

 Here is a play-action pass against UNLV in 2016, and Rosen’s initial read is to the short side of the field. He then goes back to the middle to beat the single-high safety. 

Here is a play-action pass against UNLV in 2016, and Rosen’s initial read is to the short side of the field. He then goes back to the middle to beat the single-high safety. 

 Here we see Rosen working through his progressions before delivering a strike near the sideline. 

Here we see Rosen working through his progressions before delivering a strike near the sideline. 

Josh Rosen is misunderstood in every sense of the word. His teammates and former coaches have publicly vouched for him but sometimes the narrative outweighs the facts. Rosen will make one NFL city very happy next week and for the foreseeable future. He has all the tools needed to be a successful QB in the NFL and will thrive in the right system wherever that may be.