It’s not yet January, so we’re still quite a long ways off from developing a national consensus on which five or six 2018 draft prospects will be at the top in April, let alone which prospect is the absolute number one.
That said, with the ever-present reality that a team simply cannot win consistently in this league without a quality quarterback, you’re always going to see the chatter at the top centering on the best quarterbacks in the draft. To that end, many are thinking that UCLA junior Josh Rosen is the top quarterback prospect in the draft, and is thus a good bet to go first overall.
Here’s the thing, though: Rosen reportedly doesn’t want to go first overall now that the pick has been locked up by the woebegone Cleveland Browns.
Adam Shefter reports that Rosen, who may not play in UCLA’s bowl game tonight because of a second concussion on the season, may not declare for the draft if the Browns are intent on selecting him first overall. Obviously we’ve seen franchise prospects attempt to force the issue at the top of the draft before, and Rosen may ultimately try to take a page out of Eli Manning’s playbook by finagling his way into being a New York Giant. Indeed, Shefter’s report indicates Rosen would prefer to be a Giant.
We’ll see after tonight’s bowl game whether Rosen ultimately declares for the draft, or decides to risk another year of college just to avoid the possibility of being drafted by the Browns first overall and locking in life-changing money. As I type that sentence, I realize how unlikely it is that a prospect would actually do that. So, yeah, I’m going to assume for now that Rosen will declare for the draft, and then there will be a whole lot of behind-the-scenes jostling about where he’ll be selected.
(Even if Rosen did decide to stay another year in college, is he so sure he wouldn’t wind up the number one pick the next year by the same Cleveland Browns?)
If this weekend’s game against the Bears confirmed anything, though – well, in addition to confirming officially that the Browns will get that first overall pick – it’s that DeShone Kizer still has a really long way to go if he’s going to be an acceptable NFL quarterback. The Browns almost certainly need to finally just go ahead and take a quarterback at the top of the draft.