The 2018 NFL Draft Prospect series breaks down draft-eligible players, highlighting their college production as well as their NFL potential. Daily fantasy players should know about NFL rookies before they’ve played a down of professional football because they are among the most misvalued assets in all of DFS. People who know NFL rookies have a significant DFS edge. The draft will be held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX, from April 26-28.
This piece is on California-Los Angeles quarterback Josh Rosen, who has declared early for the draft. For the total list of all players leaving school early, see our underclassmen tracker.
For more on all the other passers in the class, see our 2018 NFL draft quarterback rankings.
Updated as of Mar. 5.
Junior | 6’4″ and 226 Pounds | Born February 10, 1997 (Age: 21) | Projection: Round 1
Combine numbers: 40-yard: 4.92 sec | bench reps: DNP | 3-cone: 7.09 | 20-yard shuttle: 4.28 sec | vertical: 31 in | broad: 111 in
At the beginning of 2018, Rosen was a -120 favorite to be the first quarterback selected in the 2018 draft. Even so, the Browns own the top pick, new general manager John Dorsey has said that the team’s top priority this offseason is finding a quarterback, and before he was hired Dorsey reportedly labeled Rosen as a “stay away” prospect. On top of that, before declaring for the draft Rosen reportedly “expressed concern about winding up in Cleveland and would rather be with a more stable franchise,” such as the Giants (per ESPN’s Adam Schefter). Although Rosen at the combine said that he didn’t have any problems with Cleveland, months earlier he said that he’d “rather be a lower pick at the right team than a higher at the wrong team” (per ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss). Unless the Browns trade the No. 1 pick or use it on a non-passer or unless Dorsey or Rosen has a change of heart — none of which seems probable — Rosen doesn’t seem likely to be the first quarterback drafted in 2018.
Most years, though, Rosen would be a candidate to be the first quarterback off the board and is almost certain to be selected in the top 10 (if not the top five). As a high-schooler Rosen was one of the top quarterback recruits in the country, and at UCLA he opened his first season as the team’s starting quarterback. For a true freshman in a Power Five conference, Rosen was outstanding, completing 60.0 percent of his passes for 3,669 yards and 23 touchdowns. As a sophomore he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury that limited him to six games, but as a junior he had a solid if unspectacular campaign, completing 62.5 percent of his passes and setting several other career-high marks: 3,717 yards passing, 26 touchdowns, and 8.4 adjusted yards per attempt.
But no prospect is perfect, and Rosen has issues. First, he has horrible mobility: In college he averaged -1.4 yards per carry (including sacks). Additionally, evaluators might have questions about his health. His season-ending injury in 2016 was to his throwing shoulder, and in 2017 he reportedly suffered two concussions, causing him to miss two whole games and parts of two others. Finally, there are reports that some GMs (including Dorsey) consider Rosen a player to avoid because of “personality issues.” As long as a quarterback is talented enough, GMs find a way to put up with players they’d rather not roster — smoking Jay Cutler has been in the NFL for over a decade — but Rosen’s perceived shortcomings as a leader and teammate could (rightly or wrongly) cause him to fall a few spots in the draft. If he’s selected outside of the top 10, it will likely have more to do with his attitude than his ability.
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