“Why not Josh Rosen?”
Evaluator after evaluator will tell you that the UCLA signal-caller is the most pro-ready of the quarterbacks in this draft class. That he has the best mechanics. That maybe he doesn’t have the best arm of the group, but he throws the prettiest ball.
Yet, the commonly accepted belief is that if Giants GM Dave Gettleman turns in a card a week from Thursday at No. 2 overall that has a quarterback’s name on it that player will be Sam Darnold. A few voices in the wilderness think it might even be Wyoming’s accuracy-challenged Josh Allen.
No one, it seems, believes the pick will be Rosen.
Peter King of MMQB, in fact, believes Rosen could be in for a mini-slide on draft day.
I think I can’t find a likely spot for Josh Rosen in the top six. Not saying there won’t be one—at all. The Jets could pick Rosen, and the Bills or Dolphins could trade up to do so. I just can’t find it right now.
Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller canvassed opinion on Rosen from a variety of NFL insiders. It comes back to the two things that have been discussed forever — talented or not, there are still people who aren’t sure about his personality, and the fact that he’s had some injury issues is also a concern.
On Rosen’s personality:
Rosen played at a high level at UCLA. He battled through injuries, and his work ethic was never questioned. But the knock on him, from some, has been that his expressed interests in Wall Street and things other than football might keep him from improving as a quarterback. Of course, no one said that when Andew Luck was carting around books about the history of concrete. But, for instance, scouts did love that Carson Wentz and Mitchell Trubisky had few interests outside of football and hunting.
They didn’t wear a ”F--k Trump” hat to one of the then-presidential candidate’s golf courses. They didn’t pose for a picture in a hot tub they’d installed in their dorm room. They didn’t blast UCLA and the NCAA after the Bruins signed a marketing deal with Under Armour.
So teams have to ask themselves, Does he care more about those types of things than he does football?
Said one executive: “That’s all funny when you’re not getting 50 people fired if you miss on a quarterback. The last thing we need is the face of our team tweeting about the president when we’re on a losing streak.”
On his durability:
One scout said we might be missing the forest for the trees.
Injuries have been an issue for Rosen. As a freshman, he stayed off the injury report, but as a sophomore, he played in just six games before a shoulder injury that required minor surgery shut him down. Coming back as a junior in 2017, Rosen missed two games after suffering two concussions. Those issues, more than any perceived character problems, might precipitate a draft-night drop.
A slight-framed, injury-prone quarterback who can’t move in the pocket? That scares teams.
Rosen does have a fan in former Dallas Cowboys personnel man Gil Brandt:
I don’t have any questions about this young man with regard to the chatter about his character. A good athlete, Rosen has a strong arm and accuracy -- he can make all the throws. By Year 2, he’ll be a successful starter in the NFL. I really like this player.
If you are a Rosen supporter, and I know there are many, you are going to think all of the questions about Rosen are hogwash. I have never met the young man. I’m not going to pass judgment. I have no idea if I would come away liking or disliking him if I got to sit in room with him for an hour.
I know what the tape shows. Thing is, choosing a franchise quarterback is about far more than the game film.
If you are a Rosen backer, no one expects you to like the reasons he isn’t getting the love you think he should from NFL teams. The indications are, though, that the questions that have dogged Rosen throughout the draft process simply haven’t gone away.