Why the Cleveland Browns should select Josh Rosen, and not Sam Darnold with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
There’s no dearth of mock drafts taking up space on the Internet, and while great for debate, most are worthless.
It’s not a knock of mock drafters, heck, I’ve done one, and it was relegated as useless the second the Colts and Jets swapped first-round picks over the weekend.
Mocking the draft gives us football fans something to debate leading during these football-less months, and while everyone making pretend picks really just guessing, I can’t figure out why UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen just doesn’t get the same kind of love as USC’s Sam Darnold.
Sure, Rosen gets tapped as the No. 1 overall pick every now and then, but a majority of drafts predict the Browns will select Darnold.
One Cleveland radio outlet referred to Rosen as the best “thrower of the football” entering the combine. I scratched my head in confusion because I couldn’t decipher if the host of this show was paying a compliment to Rosen, or knocking him in favor the of Darold’s athleticism.
Read enough breakdowns of Rosen’s game, and it’ll be clear he’s the most polished passer in this draft, in addition to the one quarterback who’s most likely to make an immediate impact on the league.
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein has a comprehensive scouting report on Rosen, and these are the highlights:
• Throws receivers open, with a great degree of anticipation
• Experience under center
• Pocket presence, trusts his protection
• Advanced in pre-snap reads
• Head and shoulder fakes throw off defensive backs
Also mentioned in Zierlein’s report: Rosen’s accuracy was affected by 31 drops last season.
He completed 62.9 percent of his passes. Had receivers caught everyone one of those balls, Rosen would’ve posted a 69.4 completion rate. Would-a, could-a, should-a, I know, but the point is Rosen put the ball where it needed to be.
OK, nice traits, right? Great. We agree. These are all things you’ve like to see in your quarterback who gets drafted first overall.
But the knock on Rosen is his durability, and that’s fair. He’s not as athletic as Darnold, and he’s not mobile. Rosen suffered two concussions in college, and there’s the perception that the 21-year-old is going to have a short NFL shelf life after some EDGE rusher tees off on him.
Rosen’s not some magic unicorn that’s never going to get hit, but neither is Darnold.
Darnold fumbled the ball 11 times in 2017. That means defenses got to him–and pass rushers don’t slow down in the NFL.
Don’t mistake all of this Rosen advocating as a knock on Darnold, who a lot boxes, too. Plus, he’s got a better arm than Rosen. Just think if the 20-year-old played out his final two seasons of eligibility with the Trojans. He might have Andrew Luck type buzz surrounding his NFL stock.
However, the biggest case for taking Darnold first is largely based around upside. There are questions sourcing his game, as well.
He often gets mocked to the Browns for what he could be, when maybe, Cleveland should draft Rosen for not only what he could be, but for what he already is.