Josh Rosen: Armchair Scouting Report
Another year of the NFL Draft means another year of Armchair Scouting Reports, a series now entering it’s third season here at TwoQBs. I’m excited for the 2018 class, as there should be plenty of debate among the top prospects. As of this moment, there are at least six signal-callers expected to go in the first two rounds, if not all in the first. It should be a great year for scouting the position! To start the series, we’ll take a look at someone who has been on an NFL Draft path since before he was a freshman at UCLA, Josh Rosen.
What His Numbers Say
Here are Rosen’s career passing and rushing numbers courtesy of Sports Reference.
I also compiled Rosen’s final year game log, including the rank of the pass defenses he faced according to Football Outsiders S&P+.
Rosen was considered to be the next great quarterback out of high school, but didn’t really live up to that hype at UCLA. With that said, he still put together a very solid career. Rosen started every game in which he was not injured while at UCLA, 30 games in all. He does not turn 21 until February 10th, making him younger than any signal-caller drafted since Christian Hackenberg, an important consideration when trying to forecast his career.
Rosen has never been a rushing threat, but has improved as a passer each year of his career, progressing from a 7.5 AYA as a true freshman to 8.4 in his final season. I generally like to see signal-callers crest the 9.0 AYA mark, but it’s not a hard and fast rule. In his most difficult test of the season, Rosen shredded USC for 421 yards and three touchdowns. That’s a statement game for his prospect profile, as the Trojans ranked ninth in S&P+ pass defense. In fact, in five games against top-35 pass defenses, Rosen compiled 1,652 yards, 11 touchdowns, and only two interceptions. His AYA in those games was 8.4, so he generally seems unaffected by tough matchups.
Rosen’s frame worries me, though. He is listed at six foot four, but only 218 pounds. With injuries suffered as both a sophomore and junior, he will need to bulk up to withstand the pounding of the NFL. There is reason to be concerned he is too frail at this juncture, despite all of his potential as a passer.
Player Comparison: Matthew Stafford
Rosen is a difficult player to nail down in terms of a comparison. A lot of the players he compares to statistically are seniors and red-shirts seniors, players that are roughly two years older. That makes those comparisons moot in my opinion. Instead, I’m going with Stafford, who was also remarkably young at the time of the draft (he turned 21 on February 7th of his draft year), and improved throughout his time at Georgia. Stafford also had some injury concerns early in his professional career and played against some tough secondaries in the SEC. Stafford has also very quietly become one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL. I can envision a similar career arc for Rosen.
Ideal Landing Spot: Giants
With plenty of teams at the top of the draft needing a quarterback, there are a variety of potential landing spots for Rosen. The best, however, in my opinion, is the New York Giants. They are lacking on the offensive line, but just hired a new general manager in Dave Gettleman, who built up the Panthers’ offensive line using mid-round draft picks. It also sounds like the Giants are closing in on Pat Shurmer to be their next head coach. Shurmur has previously had success coaching quarterbacks like Brandon Weeden, Nick Foles, and Case Keenum. He would be great for Rosen’s development. The cherry on top, of course, is that the Giants have one of the best receivers of the game, Odell Beckham, and one of the best young tight ends, Evan Engram. Rosen would have a chance to be successful right away and for the long haul in New York.
Current 2QB Fantasy Rookie Draft Projection: Top-Six (Round 2 in 1QB Leagues)
At this juncture, it seems very likely that Rosen is selected inside the top five of the NFL Draft. He will immediately enter the discussion for a top rookie pick. Where exactly he goes depends on how your leaguemates value him relative to the other top-end prospects like Josh Allen and Sam Darnold. In single quarterback fantasy, the position is fairly flush with talent and potential starters, so he probably falls to the second round of rookie drafts.
As a prospect, Josh Rosen has grown on me greatly as I’ve analyzed him in the pre-draft process. Coming onto the scene as a true freshman and producing is very difficult, so much so that we’ve rarely seen it in the past decade. Some have questioned his character based on how he’s handled himself off the field and his perceived attitude (arrogance), but that isn’t red flag for me. Rosen has never been involved in a real incident as a college player, and he wouldn’t be the first big-time quarterback to think highly of himself. The talent certainly seems to be there, and I put Rosen is in the elite tier of this quarterback class, if not first overall.