Millennials get blamed for just about everything, but this might be the first time being a millennial has become an NFL draft red flag.
Former UCLA coach Jim Mora, who was fired last November, spoke about quarterback Josh Rosen in an interview with The MMQB’s Peter King. The comment that had everyone doing a double take on Monday morning was about Rosen’s generational demographic.
“He needs to be challenged intellectually so he doesn’t get bored. He’s a millennial,” Mora told King. “He wants to know why. Millennials, once they know why, they’re good. Josh has a lot of interests in life. If you can hold his concentration level and focus only on football for a few years, he will set the world on fire. He has so much ability, and he’s a really good kid.”
First there’s a question of whether Rosen, born in 1997, is really even a millennial or part of the unnamed generation after that (I can’t imagine an argument I’m less interested in having, but it’s there if you want it). But mostly it’s the old and strange deal about NFL teams really not being keen on independent thinkers. In just about any other field, having “a lot of interests in life” is a good thing, but not so much in NFL circles. What Mora said there won’t be viewed as a positive by many teams.
King talked to Mora to clarify some comments he made to NFL Network last week. Mora said he would take USC quarterback Sam Darnold over Rosen with the first pick, which was eye-opening because Mora coached Rosen and Darnold played for UCLA’s rival. Mora said he thought Darnold better fit the Cleveland Browns, who have the first pick, because of his “blue-collar, gritty attitude.” In his interview with King, Mora reiterated he just thought Darnold would be a better fit for a place like Cleveland but Rosen was “without a doubt” the No. 1 quarterback in the draft. So Mora is saying he would pass the “without a doubt” best quarterback in the draft because of some ambiguous reason about fit. OK. Maybe we have a better idea why Mora failed in two NFL head-coaching jobs.
Rosen came into the pre-draft process having to battle perception issues. It’s not going to help that his college coach isn’t exactly unequivocal in his support. Now Rosen might have to answer questions about being a millennial, probably in between bites of avocado toast.
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