Miami Dolphins

What’s it like catching a pass from Josh Rosen? We asked the guys who do it daily

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Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jakeem Grant talks to the media after the Dolphins Organized Team Activities at the Baptist Health Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 in Davie.
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Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jakeem Grant talks to the media after the Dolphins Organized Team Activities at the Baptist Health Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 in Davie.

Todd McShay believes Josh Rosen would have been the best quarterback in this year’s draft class.

Trent Dilfer called Josh Rosen “an Aaron Rodgers clone.”

Basically anyone who scouted him at UCLA raved about his arm talent.

That’s all nice.

And meaningless.

All that matter now is how he delivers the ball to the Dolphins’ eclectic group of receivers.

But here’s the thing:

Every one of those pass-catchers interviewed by the Miami Herald on Tuesday, after Rosen lit it up during the Dolphins’ fifth OTA practice, raved about his ability to throw the football.

Brice Butler: “He’s a young arm, so he can throw the ball, dart it, 30, 40 yards down the field. He can throw the lob ball. He’s got a strong, aggressive arm.”

Preston Williams: “Nice, tight spiral.”

Kenny Stills: ”I don’t know what the right word is for it, but it doesn’t look like it’s coming fast and then it gets in front of your face and you see it’s spinning well and it’s got some velocity behind it. He’s a great player. He’s got a bright future.”

And he’s a quick study.

Last week’s open practice was not Rosen’s best day.

This week’s was spectacular, aside from a poor throw picked off by rookie defensive back Montre Hartage.

He threw more touchdown passes than we could count.

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills talks to the media after the Dolphins Organized Team Activities at the Baptist Health Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 in Davie.

Tight end Mike Gesicki caught one of them in the red zone.

Williams, a promising undrafted rookie out of Colorado State, had another, going all Baryshnikov in the back of the end zone off a dig route.

Butler, who only recently was able to put on cleats after a long rehab from a pesky foot injury, had one, too.

Now all Rosen needs is for Ryan Fitzpatrick to look mortal. Because Fitzpatrick, Rosen’s competition in the Dolphins’ quarterback battle, has been lights out in the two practices open to reporters.

He was fantastic Tuesday — connecting with Stills on a home run ball here, hooking up with a wide open Durham Smythe there and finding DeVante Parker everywhere.

Parker looked like the player everyone thought he could be four years ago, even catching a tough touchdown over Xavien Howard.

Put another way: This was arguably the best offensive practice in recent memory.

It was clean. It was sharp. And it was exciting.

Obligatory caveat: This was a non-padded, non-contact practice against a Dolphins defense without Reshad Jones, Raekwon McMillan and, for much of the day, Charles Harris.

But the offense wasn’t at full strength, either. Potential starters Albert Wilson, Kalen Ballage and Dwayne Allen were all held out.

Rosen’s day was all the more impressive considering he has been on the job just three weeks. Fitzpatrick has a huge experience head-start on him, both this year and over the course of their careers.

There’s a reason that, two weeks into OTAs, Fitzpatrick remains atop the depth chart.

But Rosen has his strengths, too.

From a pure talent standpoint, there’s no comparison. His natural gifts are off the charts.

Plus, Rosen did join the team with familiarity with Miami’s personnel, if not scheme.

He and Williams were grouped together during a high school football camp on the West Coast four years ago.

And Stills, who grew up a couple hours south of Rosen, tried to be a mentor to the young quarterback during the latter’s teenage years.

“Just like everyone else, he’s trying to learn this offense, try to build chemistry within the locker room and with the coaching staff,” Stills said. “We’ve got guys here. We’ve got to come together and put it together on the field.”

Added Butler: “Fitz and Rosen and Jake [Rudock] are putting the ball on the money. We’ve been doing a good job against the defense the last couple of days. Hopefully we keep it up.”

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