That UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen has all the raw physical talent to succeed at the next level is a question that’s not up for debate. But based on a simple comment made by an AFC executive, it appears NFL teams are concerned about Rosen’s off-the-field personality.
“He’s the one I know the best — he’s got size, athletic tools, velocity,” the executive told Albert Breer of The MMQB. “He’s just a mess off the field and he’s coming off the injury. He needs to grow up, but the talent is off the charts.”
This is something that will be heavily scrutinized in the next 11-plus months leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft.
Rosen is brash. This is known.
He is a guy who had no issue showing off his displeasure with Donald Trump with a “F– Trump” hat on the golf course last year.
He’s also a kid that put a hot tub in his freshman dorm room and isn’t shy about saying whatever it is that’s on his mind — controversial or not. In a feature for Bleacher Report last year, he shocked people by saying, “The whole CTE thing is completely overblown.”
Though, it’s worth pointing out he had a viable reason for saying that, at least in his own mind.
“The NFL should be more worried about pensions than CTE,” Rosen says. “In the NFL, when you have guys run into each other head-on, full speed, s–t is going to happen. But at least they’re getting paid millions of dollars. In college, they’ve been running head-to-head into each other for what, an education? You see the irony? That’s what you’re supposed to be using your head for, an education.
“If you have CTE by the time you’re 60, but you’re a millionaire up to that point, awesome. But if you’re medically retired from football because of concussions in college and never saw a cent of anything, and all you got was a scholarship, and you’re supposed to be academically sound but you have headaches the rest of your life that affect your work, that’s f– up.”
It’s going to be fascinating to see what emerges as the NFL looks into Rosen’s life in a major way this next year.
He’s about to enter his junior season at UCLA and is no doubt going to come out of school as an underclassman to declare for the draft, barring another injury like the one he suffered last year. He’s fully healthy and is back to practice after suffering a nerve injury to his throwing shoulder.
If he does stay healthy, then there is a real chance Rosen could be one of the first players taken off the board when the draft begins next April.
If, that is, teams are comfortable with who he is off the field. And at this point, it seems that’s in no way a given.