PASADENA, CA - OCTOBER 8: Wide receiver Nelson Rosario #83 of the UCLA Bruins goes up for a pass over cornerback Damante Horton #6 of the Washington State Cougars at the Rose Bowl on October 8, 2011 in Pasadena, California. UCLA won 28-25. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Throughout the day I'm going to look at a couple of the Jaguars draft picks and/or undrafted free agents and try to get a local perspective on the players. By local, I mean getting a scouting report from the other bloggers on the SB Nation network who have watched and covered these players during their tenure in college.
The Jacksonville Jaguars signed undrafted free agent wide receiver Nelson Rosario out of UCLA over the weekend, who I think has a solid chance to make the Jaguars final roster. He's a player I get a ton of questions about and some Jaguars fans on the west coast seem to be really excited about. I asked Ryan Rosenblatt from SB Nation's UCLA blog Bruins Nation for a scouting report on Rasario, and he gave us a complete run down.
Nelson Rosario could best be described as frustrating. The talent is there, but that whole "trying hard" thing was a problem for him for four years. Naturally, the UCLA fanbase, and probably coaches, spent four years wanting to both hug him and smack him. If Rosario decides that the NFL dollars are more motivating than UCLA co-eds, he could have a productive career in the pros.
A quick comparison to Justin Blackmon shows a guy who has NFL level physical talent. Blackmon holds an edge in speed, running the 40 about a tenth of a second to a tenth of a second and a half faster that Rosario, which is significant, but nobody is claiming Rosario should be the fifth pick in the draft. Rosario is four inches taller than Blackmon, though, and jumped higher in the vertical. With his size and jumping ability, Rosario can be a real force.
You cannot underestimate Rosario's size and jumping ability. He's 6'5'' with wide shoulders and gigantic hands, which allowed him to make some truly incredible catches at UCLA. He's a good enough jumper that he competed in the jumps at UCLA and finished sixth at the Pac-10 Championships in the long jump. That's not world class jumping ability, but that is awfully impressive, especially for somebody his size.
With his size, Rosario could be deadly in the red zone, over the middle and blocking. Few defensive backs are beating him to a jump ball and he does an excellent job using his body to screen off defenders coming over the middle. He can also push guys around when blocking, but these are all things that require real effort and that's the hard part for Rosario.
At UCLA, Rosario had some games that he absolutely dominated. He had stretches of games where he dominated. The Bruins didn't have a halfway decent QB and that QB spent most of games on his back (so he shouldn't have much trouble adjusting to the Jaguars!), and yet he finished fifth on the school's all-time receptions list and receiving yards list.
Then there were the rest of the games. He sleepwalked through them and dropped balls left and right. The crisp routes that were getting him three yards of separation the game before were sloppy and the cornerback was all over him. He would give up on balls and he did as good of a job getting downfield and blocking as a blocking sled.
Simply put, Rosario has the talent. He can run fast enough and nobody is going to match his physicality...when he cares.
Personally, Rosario sounds like the perfect Jerry Sullivan project. I've seen him make some pretty impressive catches and despite lacking separation, he can be one of those receivers who's open even if they're covered due to his catching radius.
Looking through YouTube trying to find some game cuts or highlights of Rosario you consistently find clips of him making some insane one-handed catches or arguably the catch of the year against Houston. Here's a cut up of Rosario at the NFLPA All-Star game, of which or own Adam Stites was in attendance.