Here’s Why the Elks Should Circle Back On Josh Rosen

When football fans think of Josh Rosen as a player, they often think of a draft bust who has no future in the game, especially those who follow the NFL closely. Rosen was the 10th overall pick in the NFL Draft in 2018 by the Arizona Cardinals being picked alongside names like Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, and Lamar Jackson. In his first year in the NFL, he was abused by opposing pass rushers being sacked a total of 45 times in 14 games and was quickly cast aside by the organization when they picked Kyler Murray with the number one selections the very next year.

Since then, he has bounced around the NFL with stops with the Miami Dolphins, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice roster, and the San Francisco 49ers who waived him this week. Things certainly have not gone the way that Rosen would have hoped in his NFL career, and that career might be coming to an end very soon.

Related: Will We Ever See Josh Rosen in the CFL?

In September of 2020, the now Edmonton Elks added Rosen to their negotiation list. Of course, that information may no longer be current, but the last negotiations list update came in December and Rosen was still listed on the list for the Elks. What does this mean for the Elks? Well, here’s what is said on the CFL website about the negotiation list.

“Clubs are required to [unveil ten players on their list] on two occasions throughout the year following a measure approved at the 2018 CFL winter meetings. CFL by-laws state that teams can claim exclusive CFL rights for up to 45 players by placing them on their negotiation lists. Players can be added, removed or traded from the lists at any time.”

CFL website regarding the negotiation list

The keyword coming out of that is “exclusive.” If you are wondering why we aren’t suggesting that other teams take a look at bringing Rosen in, it’s because he belongs to the Elks. Those rights can be traded, but if he were to make his way north, it would likely be with the green and gold at this point.

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But here’s the thing. You’re probably wondering why the Elks would even consider bringing in a player who has had so little success since leaving UCLA and heading to the NFL, but my counterargument is so simple. Why not? Where is the harm in bringing in a guy who some people considered the best player in the room on draft day 2018?

Without getting into much more detail about Rosen, let’s talk about who they have in the quarterback room right now for a minute or two. Starting at the top, they have Trevor Harris. Things haven’t been so great for Harris and the offence so far this season to say the very least with only two touchdowns through three games. Things have turned ugly in the past few weeks with some players saying some not-so-positive things about him, including what Derek Dennis had to say about him in the most recent episode of our show.

The point in the game when Michael Wakefield when to tackle him and grabbed his facemask and didn’t just pull him down by it, but he yanked it off of his head, and [Wakefield] looked around like he thought somebody was going to come after him and nobody did nothing. Nobody helped him up. It was like one dude realized he should go help him up. I’ve been in games before where dudes have hit Bo Levi [Mitchell] and even if it was by accident, I’m going to go and check them, like bro, don’t do that again or I’m going to make sure you leave this game feeling something… Now it’s starting to make sense why Ottawa let him walk, why they didn’t pay him. Clearly, they knew something no one else was paying attention to.”

Former Stampeders’ OL Derek Dennis on Trevor Harris and his relationship with his teammates.
Quarterback Trevor Harris (7) of the Edmonton Elks throws against the Montreal Alouettes at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton on Aug. 14, 2021.

After that, they have virtually nothing in the way of CFL experience. Currently, their backup quarterback is Taylor Cornelius who is in his first CFL season and is yet to take a snap. After that, they have one other quarterback listed on their roster with former Toronto Argonaut, Dakota Prukop. Prukop attempted 30 passes in 2019 with the Argos and completed 18 of them for 284 yards, three touchdowns, and threw two interceptions. Could Prukop get the job done in live-action? Maybe, but it’s far from certain.

So back to Rosen now. What does a player with little to no success in the NFL have to offer the Elks at this point? Well, the real answer to this question is who knows. He’s a player who likely knows nothing about the CFL game and could take a considerable amount of time before he would be ready enough to take a CFL snap, but you aren’t looking for him to be an immediate solution right now.

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The nearest comparison to Rosen right now in terms of getting ready for game action at the QB spot is Paxton Lynch, the third-string quarterback for the Saskatchewan Roughriders who spent the entire training camp with the Riders before winning the job. He is still far from being ready to start a game in a pinch, but he has plenty of talent to play at the CFL level.

Despite what people think of Rosen now, there was a time where people thought he was the best player available in the 2018 NFL Draft. Here are some of the things said about him in the scouting report after he was drafted by the Cardinals.

  • In terms of mechanics, accuracy, footwork and touch, he’s the best passer in the 2018 draft class. He’s an incredibly clean passer.
  • Rosen’s background as a tennis player is obvious in watching him take a three- or five-step drop.
  • He’s a prototype in his release and delivery and operates like an NFL quarterback on play action.
  • Rosen doesn’t get rattled in the pocket despite a thin frame and tends to get better the more he’s hit.
  • With little talent around him at UCLA this season, Rosen’s numbers weren’t off the charts. Drops and missed connections played a role too.

“Rosen is a polished quarterback who is ready to take over an NFL offense. He is a clean prospect in terms of mechanics but has the biggest question marks when it comes to injury history and coachability.”

Matt Miller – Bleacher Report

Of course, there were negatives said about him too, but those mostly came down to his running ability and athleticism, injury issues, and off-field things that he doesn’t seem to have an issue with anymore.

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There is plenty of film and tape available on Rosen in his time in the NFL, and while I could easily use a highlight package that makes him look really good, I am instead electing to use a video that shows every single one of his throws in 2019 when the Miami Dolphins visited the Dallas Cowboys in week three, a game that the Cowboys won 30-3.

To see the below video, click on “Watch on YouTube” as the NFL has blocked it from displaying on other websites.

There is another video that I think fans should watch before making a conclusion on Rosen, and it comes from one of my favourite football YouTube channels, Strong Opinion Sports. This is a football YouTube channel and podcast hosted by Zac Shomler who breaks things down on a deep level. Here is him explaining why things aren’t always Rosen’s fault, especially during his first two seasons in the NFL.

Here’s the thing with Rosen right now. There is almost no chance that he will get another shot in the NFL before he does something to prove himself. With the XFL coming back at some point, that chance might be there for him, but if the Elks could lure him north, they might have a player who could be a difference-maker for them long term.

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Is he perfect? No, in fact, he’s quite far from it at the moment, but the potential for a good quarterback is there. Every chance he has gotten in the NFL so far in his career has been essentially designed for him to fail, and now those chances might be up. Look, there are times where he has shown to be a talented QB, and I do believe that with the right people around him, he can reach that potential.

Ultimately, the Elks need to look at this and ask themselves if they think Rosen would be good enough to be on their practice roster today. If the answer to that is yes (which I think it should be), then it is worth bringing him in and giving him time to show what he can do. The arm is there, the smarts are there, but the opportunity for him to prove it wasn’t. What do the Elks really have to lose? Nothing.

Again, looking at what the Elks have in-house, Prukop and Cornelius have little to no experience in the CFL (Prukop has been in the league for three seasons but only has 30 attempts to his name), so it’s not like Rosen would be incredibly far behind them. He was drafted in the first round for a reason. It’s not like he has no talent at all. If it doesn’t work, they could always let him go without thinking much of it, but if it were to work out, they might have a quarterback that could win them a lot of football games.

It seems like a no-brainer to me if the money is right for both parties to team up and hope for the best. We soon might see Rosen in the CFL.

Published by Frankie Benvenuti

Co-owner of 13th Man Sports and co-host of the 13th Man Sports live show. Working on making this my career

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