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Armchair GM: Top Five 2018 Draft Steelers QB Candidates – #1, Josh Rosen

January 2, 2018
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Armchair GM: Top Five 2018 Draft Steelers QB Candidates – #1, Josh Rosen

Josh Rosen is the most pro ready Quarterback for the 2018 Draft. That’s if he declares, which he probably will. With the firing of Jim Mora and bringing in Chip Kelly, Rosen would have to learn a whole new system and that system would be the Spread. After playing in Mora’s pro set his entire career that would be a step backwards. There’s plenty of tape on him for the NFL to make a decision so I don’t see the upside of returning.

Both Rosen and Sam Darnold didn’t have as big a year as most were expecting. They’ve shown plenty already so there’s little doubt they’ve slipped out of the top 10.

As a youngster in Manhattan Beach, CA, Rosen was a youth tennis star, ranked #1 in So Cal and in the top 50 nation wide. He switched to football in elementary school. He attended St. John Bosco High School where he threw  for 11,175 yards and 90 touchdowns. Also scoring high in academics with a 4.3 GPA. Rosen emerged as a 5 star recruit and the #1 QB prospect in the nation.

Rosen signed with UCLA and won the starting QB in his Freshman year, becoming the first true Freshman to ever start for the Bruins. He threw for 60.0 completion average, 23 touchdowns and 11 interceptions emerging as the PAC-12 Freshman of the Year. In his Sophomore year he had a shoulder injury that knocked him out for the season after six games. People thought Rosen would have a big Junior year but his supporting cast held him back. Rosen did just a little bit better than his first year with a 62.5 comp avg, 26 TDs and 10 ints. The Bruins 28–23 loss to Sam Darnold’s USC resulted in HC Jim Mora getting fired.

Rosen has been slammed by the media because in America you’re not allowed to be an athlete and have an opinion on anything. Fact is Rosen has come across as a little brash but he seemed to have settled down. He knows the importance of being judged for his ability and not whatever the media is blowing out of proportion.

Rosen has had a soft tissue injury to his throwing shoulder from his Sophomore year and he wears a brace on his left leg. UCLA never had a running game to speak of or a solid offensive line for Rosen’s entire career, prompting Mora to defend him, saying, “”Josh is beat up. He is beat up. He has taken some horrible hits because we can’t protect for him.” To Rosen’s credit he has never complained and never laid any blame on his teammates.

From Rosen’s Wikipedia page: “In the 2017 season opener, Rosen completed 35-of-59 passes for 491 yards and four touchdowns to rally UCLA to a 45–44 win over Texas A&M. The Bruins overcame a 34-point deficit, the largest comeback in school history and the second-most ever in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said: “We knew he was smart…. But the thing I was really impressed with was his toughness. We hit him and hit him a lot, and he got better. It’s not supposed to work that way … especially in the fourth quarter.”

 

 

Josh Rosen, Quarterback – UCLA – 6′-3″, 225#  – Projected Rd – 1st., top 10.

Year    Class G         Cmp    Att       Pct      Yds     Y/A      AY/A   TD       Int        Rate

2015   FR       13        292     487     60.0    3669   7.5       7.5       23        11        134.3

2016   SO      6          137     231     59.3    1915   8.3       8.2       10        5          138.9

2017   JR       11        282     451     62.5    3717   8.2       8.4       26        10        146.3

Career            30        711     1169   60.8    9301   8.0       8.0       59        26        139.9

Six Point Analysis of Josh Rosen

Arm Talent – Josh Rosen is the best pure passer in this year’s draft. His mechanics are flawless. He can deliver the ball anywhere on the field. His understanding of how to throw the ball in various situations is already at a pro level.

He’s also this year’s best long ball thrower. He can hit receivers in stride over either shoulder. He can put air under it or drive it with authority. Rosen’s footwork and hip rotation are text book perfect. It makes for a smooth and consistent throwing motion which gives him all the power he needs. He maintains the basics of his throwing motion no matter how harried things get. His balls always comes out with a high release point making them difficult to bat down.

Rosen is a pro level thrower who needs no work on his technique. His motion most closely mimics Tom Brady’s which puts Rosen in with some heady company. His accuracy is comparable, too. Yeah, I said it.

Leadership/Intangibles – There has been a lot of flap over Rosen’s tweets and supposed outspokenness. This is all nonsense. Rosen is a team captain and it’s very clear his teammates like and respect him. Very intelligent. Knows the game inside and out and is great at the chalkboard. He is very tough and has taken a lot of hard hits in his time with UCLA. No game is too big for him and he fights to make things happen no matter how bad it might be. Rosen is at an level when it comes to going through reads, looking off defenders and selling play/action.

Does well in post game interviews. Has good understanding of went right or wrong. Can be a bit sullen after a loss.  Does have a tendency to perk up a little when asked questions about his performance. Basically, I think Rosen is a lot cockier than he lets on but any QB who isn’t shouldn’t be playing the position. In another era I could see Rosen being a little like Broadway Joe, to take you into the Way-Back Machine for a bit. Has told friends he might not declare for the draft if the Browns plan on drafting him, so that shows he’s smart, right there. In this interview he gives thanks to Coach Mora for putting his ego in check. That’s good sign. It shows he’s aware of his shortcomings and has the humility to work on them.

 

 

Mobility – No, not really. It’s not that Rosen can’t scramble, knee brace and all, it’s just very clear he doesn’t like to. He realizes his job is to get the ball down the field and his mind is singularly focused on that.  Moves very well in the pocket. Great at moving in increments to avoid pressure and keeps scanning the field. Never puts his head down and runs. Not a great threat on Quarterback sneaks. Can make things happened if flushed out the pocket and he can’t find anybody open. Can run on designed plays outside the tackles.

Under Pressure – Never seems overly phased by pressure. Doesn’t panic. Moves just enough to avoid the rush. Doesn’t get happy feet but he does shift his feet a lot when looking for targets. Knows how and when to step up in the pocket. Keeps his head up and  moving, scanning the field. Never sacrifices his mechanics when things get rough. Strong enough to shake off arm tackle attempts. Rarely makes bad decisions.

Concerns/Areas Needing Work – In his college career he hasn’t been able to turn his talent into wins. Hasn’t totally lived up the expectations of a 5 star recruit. He hasn’t had the talent around him. no running game to speak of and his protection has been shoddy, no standout receivers, either, so it’s not entirely his fault. Seems to have it under control but might says things that makes the media focus on things other than his football playing.

Bottom line – Josh Rosen is a quarterback who could easily start in his first year in the NFL. He is a first rate passer who shows pro level skills in every phase of his game. With the right team he could find the level of success that has alluded him in his college career. Has all the tools, talent and intangibles to be an elite level NFL starter.

Go Stillers!!!

Jeffrey Burton

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