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Jim Mora — Josh Rosen “needs to be challenged intellectually”

Former coach taking curious stance when it comes to Rosen and the draft

Arizona State v UCLA
Josh Rosen
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Is Josh Rosen trying to ‘Eli Manning’ the 2018 NFL Draft? Is he trying to engineer his way past the Cleveland Browns to the Giants, or to another NFL team he would rather play for?

That’s how Pro Football Talk reads the comments by Jim Mora, Rosen’s former coach at UCLA, that USC quarterback Sam Darnold would be a better choices No. 1 overall for Cleveland because of “fit” in that city.

PFT says:

Rosen doesn’t want to play for the Browns, Mora knows it, and Mora’s comments were his way of saying it without saying it. ...

So why is Rosen visiting the Browns this week, you ask? Again, he’s sufficiently self aware to know how others regard him, and he doesn’t want to be regarded as a guy who is trying to engineer the draft process in his favor. Even if he is.

My guess: He is.

In case you missed Mora’s remarks, here is what he said:

“Because of fit, I would take Sam Darnold if I were the Cleveland Browns,” Mora said. “I think [he has] that blue-collar, gritty attitude. I think his teammates will love him. I think the city will love him. He’ll say the right things. He’ll come in and represent well. I think he kind of represents what Cleveland is. And then if I was one of the New York teams, I’d take Josh like that. I think they’re both going to be great pros.”

Mora stood by those remarks while speaking with Peter King for this week’s ‘Monday Morning Quarterback’ column. What he ended up saying as a defense of Rosen will likely only muddy the waters for some NFL teams when it comes to the UCLA quarterback.

Here it is:

“Josh, I think, without a doubt, is the number one quarterback in the draft. He’s a franchise-changer. He’s got the ability to have an immediate impact. His arm talent, intelligence, and his ability to see the game and diagnose the game is rare. He’d come to the sidelines after a play and it was uncanny—he could right away say exactly why he made every decision.

“He needs to be challenged intellectually so he doesn’t get bored. He’s a millennial. He wants to know why. Millennials, once they know why, they’re good. Josh has a lot of interests in life. If you can hold his concentration level and focus only on football for a few years, he will set the world on fire. He has so much ability, and he’s a really good kid.” It sounded like Mora thinks Rosen would be well-served to be pushed by quarterback mentors like Shurmur (Giants) or Jeremy Bates (Jets), and to learn for a year or so from Eli Manning (Giants) or Josh McCown (Jets).

Mora’s remarks, intentionally or not, just perpetuate the Rosen personality/commitment to football discussion.