If Jets play it safe with QB pick, Josh Rosen could be choice

With the third pick in the NFL draft, the New York Jets are expected to select a quarterback. We'll preview the top four prospects -- Josh Allen, Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen.

Previously, we profiled Allen, Darnold and Mayfield. We conclude with Rosen:

Josh Rosen, UCLA

6-foot-4, 226 pounds

In a nutshell: If the Jets are looking for a gifted pocket passer with a brain to match his arm, Rosen is their guy. Scouts say he's the most technically sound thrower in the draft. He's not as accurate as Mayfield and he doesn't have an Allen-like cannon, but Rosen has an impressive combination of both traits. Evaluators love his silky smooth throwing motion.

The concerns with him are twofold: durability and football character. He missed six games at the end of the 2016 season due to a soft-tissue injury in his throwing shoulder, requiring surgery. In 2017, he suffered a concussion on Oct. 28 and another on Nov. 24, causing him to miss two games. Since his freshman year, Rosen has been battling the perception he's an entitled jerk. He readily admits he helped fuel the narrative with his words and actions -- the hot-tub picture in his dorm room, the anti-Trump hat on a Trump-owned golf course, his controversial remarks about student-athletes, etc. That stuff got overblown because that's what happens with the draft. The real question is, can he be a leader of men? Can a rich kid from tony Manhattan Beach, California, be committed to football 24/7? Former UCLA coach Jim Mora Jr. didn't do him any favors in recent interviews, raising questions about Rosen's passion for the game.

How he fits the Jets: During the pregame warm-ups at the UCLA-USC game last November, general manager Mike Maccagnan spent most of his time on the UCLA side of the field, watching Rosen. He studied body language and interaction with teammates, looking for personality and leadership traits that can't be seen on tape. The quarterback he selects will be the face of the franchise and must be a strong leader.

From a football standpoint, Rosen would fit nicely in the Jets' West Coast offense. He's a cerebral player who prides himself on being able to read defenses and work through his progressions. His smarts, coupled with flawless mechanics, make him the most pro-ready quarterback in the draft. Negatives? His lack of mobility could be a concern. He completed only 42 percent of his passes when forced to move and he took too many sacks last season (26). In case you didn't notice, the Jets' offensive line struggled in pass protection. Rosen's know-it-all personality can rub some people the wrong way, but offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates has had experience with his type. (See: Jay Cutler.) Rosen would join a quarterback room that includes a couple of pro's pros, Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater, which would help his maturation.

My sense is the Jets' pick will come down to Rosen or Mayfield, the pure passer versus the brash playmaker (assuming Darnold is gone).

By the numbers: Rosen started from day one as a true freshman and finished 17-13. UCLA was 1-7 in games he didn't play. ... Darnold catches a lot of heat because of his turnovers, but Rosen wasn't exactly a paragon of ball security. He finished with 20 interceptions over his final 20 games. His career numbers: 59 touchdown passes, 26 interceptions. ... His completion percentage was only 62.6, which ranked 40th in the FBS. It should be noted he was victimized by an unusually high number of drops (31). ... Rosen played in a pro-style offense. In fact, he took 107 snaps from under center, fifth-most among Power 5 quarterbacks. ... He excelled against the blitz, leading Power 5 quarterbacks with 26 completions of 20 yards or more. ... His signature win came last season against Texas A&M. He passed for 491 yards and four touchdowns, rallying UCLA from a 34-point deficit in the third quarter. ... As a kid, Rosen was a tennis prodigy and his serve was clocked at 105 mph. ... He scored a 29 on the Wonderlic intelligence test, second only to Allen (37) among the top four quarterbacks. His 40 time (4.92) was the slowest.

What evaluators are saying: ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr.: "We know he’s got great intelligence. We know he’s a great pure passer. We know all that, but does he have that extra intangible to be the great quarterback he's capable of being?" ... NFL Network's Mike Mayock: "He’s the best pure passer I've seen in several years. The problem I have with him is there’s a durability issue. When you combine that with an inability to escape from the pocket, I'm concerned. I’m concerned whether or not he can play enough games to make a significant dent in the NFL. I love his talent, but I’m very worried about his ability to survive." ... AFC scout: "You know the movie 'Draft Day'? and the quarterback, Bo Callahan? Same guy [as Rosen]."

In his own words: “I make very quick decisions, very quick and decisive decisions. I always say that I think if you can get three or four reads into your progression, you give yourself more opportunities down the field. ... That’s what I think my best attribute is. I can sit in the pocket and really pick defenses apart.” -- Rosen