Career Recap: In recent seasons of college football, there have been some freshman quarterbacks who take the nation by storm. Players like Christian Hackenberg and Brad Kaaya were freshman phenoms who received a lot of hype as being potential high first-round picks and future franchise quarterbacks. They ended up not playing up to those lofty draft projections after their tremendous college debuts. For the 2018 NFL Draft, one prospect who might keep that tradition alive is Rosen.
Rosen had an impressive debut as a freshman, completing 60 percent of his passes for 3,670 yards with 23 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Rosen only played in six games during before a shoulder injury ended his season. The sophomore completed 59 percent of his passes for 1,915 yards with 10 touchdowns and five interceptions on the year.
2017 Season Outlook: Rosen is going to see some good defensive talent during his junior season. Texas A&M leads off the season and features future NFL defensive backs in safety Armani Watts and cornerback Donovan Wilson. Stanford cornerbacks Quenton Meeks and Alijah Holder are pro prospects who will test Rosen in Week 4. Rosen will see other good defensive talent against Washington and Utah during the second half of the season. The best corner that Rosen could see all season is with rival USC's junior Iman Marshall.
Skill-Set Summary: The NFL has an endless demand for franchise quarterbacks, so a player like Rosen is going to be a highly scrutinized prospect who could end up being a high first-round talent.
For the NFL, Rosen has the physical skill set to be a franchise quarterback. He has a lot of physical talent along with a strong arm, height, and pocket presence. Rosen has a big arm that can make all the throws required in the NFL. He can launch the ball deep, sling the out route to the outside hash, and can put some velocity on the ball. Rosen has an excellent starting point of decent fundamentals heading into the NFL. Rosen's mechanics and fundamentals make for the best foundation of any of the quarterback prospects for the 2018 NFL Draft.
Rosen can be an accurate passer who is willing to make tough throws into tight windows. He is able to throw receivers open with well-placed passes and shows the ability to be a rhythm passer. Rosen flashes good timing and anticipation, especially when he has a clean pocket. In terms of field vision, Rosen will work off his primary read, but he definitely needs to improve his vision for the NFL. UCLA has called a lot of primary-option quick-pass plays, so Rosen could use more reps taking deep drops and working through reads.
Like all college players, there are things that Rosen can improve on. For one, he could stand to get better with the consistency of his accuracy. There are times when Rosen gets into stretches where his accuracy is off and he can miss some throws he should complete. Rosen needs to get faster and speed up the process to scan through his progressions, too. In the pros, he is going to need to move his eyes more and not lock onto his primary read or one of the side of the field so much. The junior also needs to stay healthy in 2017 to avoid having serious durability concerns about him for the NFL.
One of the big problems for Rosen entering his junior year is that he has developed a reputation for having poor intangibles as a bad teammate and leader. Football is an emotional game, and NFL teams want their quarterbacks to be positive team leaders. Whether it is a vocal leader or a quiet lead-by-example type, NFL evaluators and coaches want the quarterback to be a player who teammates gravitate toward with the ability to lead his team in crunch time. Rosen is said to be disliked in the Bruins' locker room, and it sounds like he needs a personality make-over. A scout who has done advance work on the 2018 NFL Draft had this to say about Rosen:
"Right now I have them rated [Sam] Darnold, [Josh] Allen, [Lamar] Jackson, and then Rosen....Rosen has huge talent and lacks intangibles. He is a prototypical pocket guy. I love his talent, but his own teammates don't like him. Being a prick is one thing, but there aren't many quarterbacks who stick around long-term and are successful that couldn't get along well with their teammates."
Thus, Rosen has a lot riding on his junior year on the field and off of it.
2018 NFL Draft Expectations: If Rosen can stay healthy, play well, and improve his off-the-field reputation, he could be a high first-round pick in his draft class. If he has issues with his intangibles and durability, plus doesn't play as well, he could be a quarterback prospect who has a slide in his grade.