Draft day is finally here.
Like the final splurge before a guilt-ridden diet, the NFL offseason builds to its pinnacle tonight.
Unlike those dietary intentions, the football-less months are definitely happening.
- Which quarterback of the future should your NFL team be drafting?
- How many quarterbacks?! Our definitive NFL mock draft is here
Fortunately, the annual selection jamboree will provide a feast of speculative possibilities to sustain us through OTA’s up to training camp and beyond.
The months before have already delivered some morsels, though no players have divided opinions more than quarterbacks Josh Rosen and Josh Allen.
Allen has seen his profile soar in the months building up to the draft. Mediocre completion stats have been dismissed and his questionable footwork forgotten because Josh Allen interviews well, has an arm that could throw a sack full of kettles over seven Weatherspoons, and, most importantly, looks like an NFL quarterback.
The generous way to understand the Allen hype is that he has raw talent, a powerful arm, and physical attributes coaches love. But there are huge questions about his play and he looks an ideal prospect for the Browns, picking first, to screw the franchise for another three years.
Mel Kiper Jr. asked about Josh Allen’s completion percentage: “Stats are for losers in my opinion. The guy won.”
— Matthew Fairburn (@MatthewFairburn) January 18, 2018
While Allen has become a media darling, another Josh, Rosen, from UCLA has the stats and impressive game tape that matter, but his character has been repeatedly questioned in the media as the draft draws closer.
Rosen hails from southern California, and is as close to an American aristocrat as you can get.
His father, a surgeon, was reputedly considered for a position within President Obama cabinet, while his mother is a descendant of industrialist Joseph Wharton, whose fortune was used to found esteemed academic institutions.
Basically, this Josh could’ve chosen any route he wanted when finishing up at his private high school. His athletic talents saw him not only wrack up numbers on the football field, but also placed him as one of the top ten underage tennis players in the US.
Josh Rosen is young, rich, talented – God, don’t you just want to hate this guy?
The worst thing of all though, at least for some NFL watchers, is he’s smart.
A series of stories have knocked the prospect’s draft stock. He’s “arrogant”, “cocky” and “smug” because of his background, because he asks questions, because he’s interested in the world outside football.
The Ringer’s Mike Lombardi took a shot at Rosen last month, reporting that his team sources were worried because “he might like humanitarian work more than football”.
His college coach, Jim Mora, who angled for a college head-coaching job while still doing the same job for the Falcons, tarnished the quarterback’s name with the most damning term of all, calling him a “typical Millennial” because the quarterback “wants to know why” too much.
In football-speak, this means Rosen is uppity, that he thinks he knows better than his coaches, or anyone else. Maybe he does.
He may be right when Mora is his coach.
There is a wider context to all this. Rosen has not hidden his dislike for President Trump. This is not exactly surprising given his home state – the ornately-coiffured one lost California by 4 million votes in 2016.
He’s also spoken intelligently about the calculation college players have to make because they aren’t paid to play – one injury could ruin a multi-million-dollar future – and expressed his disdain for this system.
Rosen will obviously have to show he’s a good team-mate – no one he’s played with has called that into doubt – and has the right attitude to make it in the league, but his interests outside football do not hinder this, and his intelligence is an obvious asset when it comes to playing at quarterback.
Look at Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning or Tom Brady – I’m sure they’ve asked why a lot (Millennials! *shakes fist*).
Allen’s rise and Rosen’s fall show that the offseason generates lots of discussion, but can be light on insight.
Enjoy the feast of the draft, because a summer of famine is on the way.