UCLA Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen said it right the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine. He thinks he’s the best quarterback in this draft class and he’s not wrong.
Much will be made about the quarterback class of the 2018 NFL Draft all the way up until it happens. As many as maybe five signal callers could end up going in the first round. One of the quarterbacks that is essentially a lock to go in the top-10 would be Josh Rosen of the UCLA Bruins.
Rosen was the most highly touted of the quarterbacks entering the 2018 NFL Draft coming out of high school. He was a five-star recruit coming out of high school in 2015. After three up and down years playing for Jim Mora at UCLA, Rosen has wisely decided to go pro amidst a coaching change in Westwood.
When asked how he feels he stacks up against the competition in this here draft, Rosen put it bluntly: “I think I’m the best quarterback here.” Even with four or five other top-tier collegiate signal callers in this class, Rosen is not wrong to think he is the best of the bunch. Here is why.
Rosen is the best pure thrower of the football. He can make all the throws short, intermediate and long. His passing mechanics are the most pro-ready of any quarterback entering the draft. He has great touch on his passes and plays within the structure of the offense. At UCLA, Rosen played for a former NFL head coach in Mora, who had previously led the Atlanta Falcons and the Seattle Seahawks.
Even though UCLA never lived up to the hype during Rosen’s time with the program, it might have had more to do with Mora than anything. Of course, it didn’t help that Rosen missed half of his true sophomore season due to injury. UCLA plummeted immediately after he got hurt in 2016.
Some might find Rosen a bit off-putting with his highly cerebral demeanor. Does he really love football? He does come from a well-off family and would have other opportunities away from the gridiron should he want them. However, we’ve seen his clear NFL prototype work recently and often in the league today. If he can stay healthy, Rosen has the least bust potential of any quarterback in the draft.
Rosen compares favorably to Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons, Jared Goff of the Los Angeles Rams and Teddy Bridgewater of the Minnesota Vikings. All four are slender, pass-first quarterbacks that have great accuracy. None of them have a prototypical gun, but have the necessary skill-set to succeed in an NFL offense. Of course, all four’s games are helped by playing in a dome or a southern climate. The pathway to being a Pro Bowler is very real for Rosen.
Now if we look at some of the other quarterbacks with first-round hype in this draft, their prototypes are either not as clear or as successful. USC Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold compares favorably to Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts and Blake Bortles of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
All four have thick builds, can make plays in and around the pocket with their legs. However, accuracy comes and goes as their throwing mechanics need constant refinement. This prototype frankly lacks the touch that Rosen compares to. Wyoming Cowboys quarterback Josh Allen would fit this prototype as well.
2017 Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield of the Oklahoma Sooners might be the most peculiar case of potential first-round quarterbacks. He compares favorable to Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints, Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks and Case Keenum of the Minnesota Vikings.
These are smaller, gunslingers that aren’t afraid to air it out. All four throw with touch from the pocket, but can often resort to ad-libbing when the play breaks down. Interceptions come in bunches with these guys, but you can also win at a high level with them.
The last guy we’ll touch on is 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson of the Louisville Cardinals. He compares to guys like Michael Vick, Robert Griffin III and Colin Kaepernick. Their dual-threat playmaking abilities and powerful right arms were undeniable.
However, accuracy is a huge issue with them at the pro level, leaving you underwhelmed in the passing game, as these were mostly run-first quarterbacks. Jackson could be dynamic like his dual-threat predecessors, but this style of quarterbacking doesn’t equate to longevity in the league.
Overall, Rosen’s game translates most favorably to a long career in the NFL over his draft counterparts. He may not be entering the draft with the most amount of hype, but he’s most likely to be the one starting on your NFL fantasy team 10 years from now. Rosen owned the podium in Indianapolis on Friday. If he stays healthy, he could carve up NFL secondaries for years to come. Him thinking he’s the best shouldn’t come as a surprise, as he very well might be.