Several teams are entering the 2017 NFL season with a need at quarterback. Fortunately for their fan bases, the 2018 NFL Draft will offer many of them a long-term solution. Five passers could end the college football season with first-round grades, including UCLA’s Josh Rosen.
NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah continued his preseason scouting series on Tuesday with a first look at Rosen, the supremely gifted quarterback who arguably has the best pure traits of any prospect at the position in next year’s draft.
Jeremiah had high praise for Rosen. He compared his game to two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback, Eli Manning.
“He might be the polar opposite of Eli Manning when it comes to personality, but I do see some similarities in their playing style,” Jeremiah wrote. “Both of them are streaky passers capable of playing at a high level. They can throw with touch and timing while also possessing enough arm strength to fit balls into tight windows in the middle of the field. If Rosen can stay healthy, I have no doubt he will reemerge as one of the premier players in the country.”
The comp to Manning is a good one. When Eli was in his final season at Ole Miss, it was obvious that he was going to be a franchise NFL quarterback. Rosen is expected to make the same impression this season; He’s already flashed those traits in his first two years at UCLA.
Rosen played only six games in 2016 because of a season-ending shoulder injury, which will be one of the most important hurdles he has to overcome this year. His six starts were somewhat disappointing, as he completed only 59.3-percent of his passes and had a 2-to-1 interception-to-touchdown ratio (10 TDs, 5 INTs). He didn’t develop in his second season under center.
No one knows how he would have finished the year had he been healthy, however, and his blue-chip arm should lead him to great success in 2017. That said, if he doesn’t have a hot start in September, whispers about whether it would be wise for him to stay in school for his senior season will begin.
I’m confident Rosen — assuming he’s over his shoulder injury — will play like a potential top pick. It will be fun to watch him battle with USC’s Sam Darnold for bragging rights as the top quarterback not only in the Pac-12, but in the entire country.