Josh Rosen may end up eventually bringing more to the table from an NFL processing and football IQ standpoint than New York Giants franchise quarterback Eli Manning when all is said and done, at least according to one NFL scout who spoke with The Daily News.
“I don’t view Eli on the same intelligence level as Rosen,” one NFL scout told the Daily News. “I once heard they used to tape episodes of Seinfeld for Eli, while Peyton used to ask for advanced film on teams or background of GMs in NFL. I think (Eli and Rosen) are about the same athlete. Rosen throws a prettier ball and has a better arm.”
Of course, as we always caution, it’s important to take what anonymous scouts say during the final 14 days before the draft with a grain of salt — they could be looking to push an agenda. Having said that, this tidbit has nothing to do with when a prospect will be drafted or whether or not a team likes him and instead looks to compare him vs. another NFL quarterback. However, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard NFL evaluators rave about Rosen’s ability to process defenses both before and after the snap, adjust pass protections before the snap, and see the field in a way that allows him to throw with anticipation and give his pass catchers room to run after the catch. At the Combine, multiple NFL offensive coordinators who interviewed all of the top quarterbacks in the 2018 class raved about Rosen’s football IQ.
In an article wrapping up The Combine with Sports Illustrated writer Bruce Feldman, he shared some of the takeaways he received from multiple anonymous quarterbacks coaches who had the opportunity to meet with Rosen:
Rosen was the sharpest of all the quarterbacks Coach A met with at the combine in terms of how quickly he processed information and adapted to new terminology during one-on-one meetings: “He was very impressive. He knows football inside and out.”
Coach B concurred: “It’s not close. He’s by far the most advanced.”
Rosen’s high school football coach Chad Johnson broke down how he used to tailor his game plan to Rosen’s uncanny football IQ. In fact, Johnson modeled the entire offense around Peyton Manning’s Colts offensive scheme and put similar pressure on Rosen as Indianpolis put on Manning.
“We wanted to make sure the defense was always wrong,” Johnson, now the head coach at Mission Viejo, told Pat Leonard of The Daily News. “And Josh in eighth grade, we realized how smart he was, and we always worked on that, approached the offense by learning the defense. I remember telling Josh, ‘I don’t know if you’ll ever be Peyton, but you’re so smart and you understand the game so well, I think you could run this offense.’”
“Like Peyton, we’d try to get a three-play menu in each situation and he could get himself into the perfect play,” Johnson added. “And the best part about Josh — a lot of QBs I’ve had, they make the run checks but when it works and hits, they don’t get overly excited about it. But when Josh checked to a run play and it would hit, he would come over excited like he threw an 80-yard bomb, and all he did was check to a run play and hit for 60. He got it. He wasn’t all about throwing the ball. He got it. He loved the chess game of football so much.”
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After Rosen turned in an impressive Pro Day performance despite throwing through windy conditions at UCLA, he expanded on his love for the Xs and Os of football.
“Xs and Os come easy but I’ve worked my ass off to know more than everybody else because that’s where my edge is on the field and I’m going to take full advantage of it. Peyton (Manning) and some of those guys who take pride have had great careers,” Rosen said after his Pro Day.
Throw on Rosen’s game tape at UCLA and you’ll see him constantly making changes at the line of scrimmage, often shifting his offensive line’s protection on any given play. Rosen first started diving into the Xs and Os of football after learning from his high school coach. Then, his passion took over.
“He’s a center so he taught me the game from inside out,” Rosen said of learning football from his high school coach. “I firmly believe that’s how it should be played. Can’t throw the ball on your back and a lot of that is on me.”
In addition to entering the NFL with an advanced knowledge of the Xs and Os, Rosen has been praised by NFL analysts as the best pure passer to enter the draft in quite some time. Rosen’s throwing mechanics, footwork, and accuracy have all been praised during the pre-draft process.