ESPN: College performances show Cards’ Josh Rosen’s ceiling, floor

May 27, 2018, 1:04 PM | Updated: May 28, 2018, 8:23 am
Arizona Cardinals' first-round draft pick Josh Rosen (3) runs drills during NFL football football r...
Arizona Cardinals' first-round draft pick Josh Rosen (3) runs drills during NFL football football rookie camp Friday, May 11, 2018, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)
(AP Photo/Matt York)

To get a feel for the top five 2018 quarterback prospects, ESPN’s Matt Bowen looked at the strengths and weaknesses of the class from college games.

Bowen, who played safety in the NFL for seven seasons, wrote about the game that shows the ceiling for each quarterback, the game that shows the floor, the passer’s best trait, an area to improve and a tip for the team’s offensive coordinator.

The ceiling for Josh Rosen: Re-visit his Nov. 18 performance at USC.

Rosen and No. 3 overall pick Sam Darnold, who were among the favorites for first overall pick at the time, faced off at the Coliseum.

Bowen said the future Cardinals quarterback showed traits of a pure pocket passer.

“(Rosen) displayed the high-level traits of a pure pocket thrower against the Trojans, despite the loss. I’m talking about the timing in the quick game, the anticipation to find open windows on intermediate routes, the natural touch to drop the rock over coverage and the deep-ball accuracy.”

Rosen went 32-for-52 with 421 yards, three touchdowns an an interception, including a 41-yard bomb to Lasley Jordan.

“This is a quarterback with the skill set to develop quickly,” Bowen wrote.

His floor is a familiar game to Valley residents: Arizona defeated UCLA 47-30 on Oct. 14 in Tucson.

Rosen completed only 20 of his 34 passes and threw three interceptions without a touchdown.

“The Arizona tape jumps out because of the turnovers and the lack of mobility that showed up when Rosen had to battle pressure on the road,” Bowen wrote.

He added that the game proved Rosen’s toughness, but the hits he took – including five sacks – will add up the in NFL if he can’t get the ball out quickly enough.

Rosen’s touch is his best trait.

Bowen called it “overlooked.”

“It allows him to drop the ball over underneath defenders and attack third-level windows in the passing game,” he said.

The quarterback needs to improve his pocket movement, though.

Bowen advised him to study tape of Tom Brady and Drew Brees.

“Two veteran quarterbacks who lack top-tier mobility, they have mastered the footwork to maneuver inside the pocket when the feel pressure,” Bowen said.

Rosen was sacked 27 times in 11 games last season. The only game in which he wasn’t sacked was against ASU on Nov. 11.

With a history of injuries and concussions, learning to move before the throw will be vital to his success.

Finally, Bowen’s tip to offensive coordinator Mike McCoy: There’s no need to make it complicated.

“Tailor the passing game around Rosen’s natural throwing ability in a West Coast system,” he said. “Win with timing and inside-the-numbers throws and take shots when you get favorable matchups.”

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ESPN: College performances show Cards’ Josh Rosen’s ceiling, floor