A likely top five pick and legitimate candidate for No. 1 overall, Rosen offers rare polish for a quarterback of his age, demonstrating throughout his three years as the Bruins' starter both the mental and physical traits necessary to project as an NFL franchise quarterback.
The transition from college football to the NFL is a steep jump regardless of the position but it is most challenging for quarterbacks. Perhaps no passer in the 2018 draft class is better suited for this leap than Rosen, who offers not only rare arm talent but experience with an NFL coaching staff and the thick skin that comes from playing under the LA media microscope.
Rosen’s physical gifts as a traditional pocket passer are as obvious as his eye-popping production. From his crisp throwing motion, to the velocity, touch and accuracy with which he completes passes to all levels of the field, Rosen possesses the talent to warrant consideration as early as No. 1 overall. Just as impressive is the fact that Rosen enjoyed success despite playing under a different offensive coordinator in each of his three years as a starter for the Bruins, culminating in 2017 under Jedd Fisch, who left Jim Harbaugh and Michigan after spending the previous 12 seasons in the NFL.
Rosen’s talent is clear but so too are his red flags, the most serious being durability. Rosen has missed significant game action each of the past two seasons, including the final six games of the 2016 season due to a shoulder injury which required season-ending surgery, as well as the second half against Washington and Utah in 2017 due to a concussion. – Rob Rang 11/4/2017
A five-star recruit universally ranked among the elite prep prospects in the country, Rosen enrolled early at UCLA (January 2015) amid great fanfare after a record-breaking career at St. John Bosco, which included guiding his team to the 2013 MaxPreps National Championship. After taking part in spring drills with the Bruins,
Rosen took over for Green Bay Packers’ draft choice Brett Hundley immediately, becoming the first quarterback in school history to start the season-opener of his true freshman season. He was named a FWAA 1st team Freshman All-America, Pac-12 Conference Offensive Freshman of the Year (coaches) and Pac-12 Newcomer of the Year (AP) by completing 60% of his passes for 3,668 yards and 23 touchdowns against 11 interceptions in 2015. Rosen was on pace for an even bigger year in 2016 (59% completion rate for 1,915 yards and 10 TDs/5 INTs) before suffering a partially torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder which required season-ending surgery (November 7, 2016).
Tall, strong-armed quarterback with an easy throwing motion, including a lightning-quick, over-the-top release that provides little warning to defenders. Spins the ball beautifully, throwing a tight spiral which makes it easy on his receivers to track and collect the football. Cerebral passer with excellent field vision, showing no problem in working through his progressions to find the open target while showing good spatial awareness and an internal clock to avoid holding the ball for too long. Plenty of arm strength to drive sideline routes from the opposite hash and is an effective deep ball passer with excellent touch and trajectory. Can drop his arm slot to avoid pass rushers and still fire accurate passes quickly.
Highly confident in his ability to squeeze passes through tight windows, showing the willingness to make the challenging throws needed for sustained success in the NFL. Not a true scrambling threat but possesses enough athleticism to buy time in the pocket and steal yardage as a runner when the defense allows it. Experienced in a pro-style offense featuring snaps from shotgun as well as from under center and has enjoyed success regardless of the play-caller, a testament to his football I.Q. and instincts. Comes from an athletic family. Parents, Charles Rosen and Elizabeth Lippincott, were both national gold medal ice dancers and figure skaters. - Rob Rang 11/4/2017
Missed action due to soft tissue injuries each of the past two years, raising concerns for some about Rosen's ability to play through pain. Despite adding more than 10 pounds of muscle since joining UCLA, Rosen still possesses a relatively gangly build, including slim limbs which suggest that his struggles with durability may continue. Average athlete, even among quarterback standards. Lacks the agility and speed to elude NFL defenders and shows less than ideal strength to pull away from arm tackles.
Accuracy wanes when throwing on the move, including while rolling to his right. At times, makes reckless decisions with the ball, too often trusting his arm and receivers to win contested passes. Outspoken personality that may make him more popular with media looking for a hot quote than NFL coaching staffs who expect their quarterback to care only about football... Created a storm on social media following his release of a photo showing a hot tub he brought into his dorm room, mocking then-presidential candidate Donald Trump while playing golf, as well as the NCAA's nonprofit status when UCLA announced its 15-year, $280-million deal with Under Armour.
Further raised eyebrows prior to the 2017 season with the comments that "football and school don't go together" and "at some point, universities have to do more to prepare players for university life and help them succeed beyond football." -- Rob Rang 11/4/17
COMPARES TO:Hall of Fame's Dan Marino, Dolphins - Comparing anyone to arguably the greatest passer in NFL history is obviously lofty praise but Rosen's quick release, velocity and ball placement on passes to all areas of the field is exceedingly rare. Off-field questions and a lack of preferred mobility pushed Marino down the board to No. 27 overall back in 1983. Rosen comes with similar concerns, making a draft day drop possible despite his undeniable talent.
IN OUR VIEW:
-- Rang: It is hard not to be reminded of Jay Cutler when watching Rosen. Each can make circus throws few other quarterbacks would even attempt, showing not only exceptional arm talent but a sharp mind for picking apart defenses. Neither, however, possesses ideal intangibles as the face of the franchise and therefore come with a clear "buyer beware" element.
--Brugler: Rosen has the mechanics, arm talent and intelligence that translates well to the NFL game. His decision-making, especially under pressure, often leads to negative plays, but if he stops trying to do too much and takes better care of the football, he can be a reliable starter at the next level. Rosen won't be for everyone, but if a team is comfortable with his maturity, he will be drafted high.