Lest we forget Rosen’s epic 34-point comeback over Texas A&M to begin the season. If you didn’t see it or don’t recall the game just watch the video below as a refresher as to how amazing this game was and you’ll see a star at work.
Rosen, a California native, was a top recruit coming out of high school. He committed to close by UCLA in the spring of 2014 so he could take part in spring practices. (A knock on this kid is that he may not be a good locker room guy. But if you ask me, that small detail about enrolling in school early just to play football sounds like a guy who loves the game and wants to learn and succeed.)
For most of the year, it’s been a two horse race between Rosen and Darnold for top quarterback in the draft. Many experts predict Darnold has a higher ceiling, but Rosen is more “pro ready”.
So the question is, which quarterback would the Bills prefer.
On one hand, If Darnold truly does have the higher ceiling then the Bills may look at him as the better player. On the other hand, the Bills just made the playoffs for the first time since the turn of the century so the team may be looking for a player who is ready to step in right away and get the Bills back to the January playoff.
As a member of the Bruins Rosen was never able to lead his team too much of a winning pedigree like Darnold. But that’s largely in part because UCLA’s program isn’t nearly as talented as USC’s.
Despite this, Rosen started as a true freshman in 2015 and led the Bruins to an 8-4 record. The talented first-year quarterback threw for 3,670 yards with 23 touchdowns. He led the team to a bowl bid but ultimately lost to Nebraska despite his strong performance (319 yards and three touchdowns).
The former Bruin wasn’t able to capitalize on his strong freshman season in 2016 after suffering a season-ending injury. He lasted just six games and Darnold emerged from the USC bench to surpass Rosen as a prospect.
After missing the second half of 2016 the pressure was on Rosen to have a good year and cement himself as a top quarterback candidate in the draft class.
How did he do? Let’s take a look.
The UCLA product had a bit of an inconsistent season for the Bruins. He started the year with jaw-dropping numbers. He averaged 440-yards-per-game with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions through the first four games. That would have made him on pace for nearly 5,300 yards passing and 48 touchdowns. Instead, He threw 10 touchdowns and six picks in the remaining eight games. He ended the season with 3,756 yards and 26 touchdowns— quite far off from what he was on pace to finish with.
Rosen has good size at six-foot-four and has tremendous athleticism. He didn’t have much talent surrounding him and scouts are arguing that could be a reason for his lower than expected stats. Often a quarterback’s who don’t go to powerhouse school tend to have less talented receivers who may not have great separation skills. This leads to dropped passes and lesser yardage and touchdown stats for the quarterback.
Nonetheless, Rosen is expected to be a top pick in the NFL draft and has always been considered a top prospect since leaving St. John Bosco High School. Will the Bills roll the dice on the talented quarterback? We’ll see.