UCLA Football: Should Josh Rosen stay at UCLA?

PASADENA, CA - OCTOBER 21: Josh Rosen (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - OCTOBER 21: Josh Rosen (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Josh “Chosen” Rosen, projected to be a first-round draft selection in the 2018 NFL draft, could go as high as number one. So why would he want to stay at UCLA?

From a purely speculative standpoint, it would not make sense for Josh Rosen to remain for his senior season in Westwood. With his combination of tools, moxie, and talent, his name is being bandied about as the first overall selection. From a financial perspective, 2016 first selection quarterback Jared Goff received $27.9 million in guaranteed money and an $18.5 million signing bonus from the Los Angeles Rams.

Myles Garrett received a $30.4 million guaranteed contract from the Cleveland Browns, as well as a $20.25 million signing bonus. That is a large pile of money to push to the side, but it would not be unprecedented.

Matt Leinart, at one point projected to be the first pick of the 2005 draft, stayed at USC while first pick Alex Smith netted $49.5 million. Leinart ended up staying for the 2006 season and being selected 10th in the 2006 draft.

Much like Leinart, Rosen comes from a “wealthy, affluent, educated family” per his own words in an interview with Sports Illustrated in 2016. A former tennis prodigy, Rosen is something of a renaissance man that has a vast array of interests outside of football. One scout thinks he will “get bored of football” and focus on “changing the world” within three or four years within the NFL lifestyle.

Josh Rosen is cerebral, and a bit of a maverick – neither of which quality plays well within a league becoming more rigid, celebrating flexibility and personality-less and less with each coming season. Rosen has opined on many topics, treading willfully in controversial waters and would be loathed to strap on the pads under the guise of an opinion that is not fully his.

As the Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, and New York Giants contend for the worst record in the league, the potential fit for Rosen in those three organizations is as disparate as the three offensive coordinators who have coached him at UCLA.

The Browns are the ultimate sad sack franchise, with their last playoff appearance coming in 2002 when Rosen was four years old. The organization rightfully receives guff from nearly all directions, as they appear to be the proverbial rudderless, leadership-devoid entity that just flounders from one draft to the next.

The Giants have two Super Bowls and an aging quarterback, and despite a recent mutiny in the locker room, have the potential of being a good, if not great organization. The 49ers, despite a couple years of hardship, are historically a great organization and have recently acquired a bigger-name quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo, whom they acquired in a mid-season trade.

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It would not seem that these locations would necessarily suit Josh Rosen, who is notoriously outspoken about his preferences.

With the Bruins record holding at 5-5, needing to win one of their final two games to reach a low-level bowl game, it would seem that Rosen is not clamoring to stay with a team that has underachieved during his tenure.

Coach Jim Mora has not continued the winning culture that seemed imminent during his first three seasons, and a raft of injuries has struck the UCLA team at nearly every position imaginable.

The offensive line does not look to be in top shape heading into 2018 with recruits de-committing from an already thin unit, and though the Bruins have some nice skill players, there is nary a game breaker on the current roster.

With stellar recruit Dorian Thompson-Robinson set to enroll next year, if not sooner, it would seem that clearing house might be the pragmatic way to approach the UCLA football program.

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But Josh Rosen has never been predictable, and with a strong and independent mind sitting atop his shoulders, he just might reverse field on the pundits and stay in school for his senior season.