When the Arizona Cardinals elected to trade up to the number ten overall pick and select quarterback Josh Rosen from UCLA, the franchise took a firm step into a new direction
Top Arizona Cardinals draft pick Josh Rosen, who was criticized for durability concerns and a polarizing demeanor, nearly slid out of the top ten. Yet to most scouts, Rosen was clearly the most polished and pro-ready pure passer in the draft.
Now Rosen comes to an Arizona Cardinals team with a no-nonsense head coach in Steve Wilks, a phenomenal running back in David Johnson, and a veteran quarterback to sit behind and learn from in Sam Bradford. All things considered, I would give the Cardinal’s selection of Josh Rosen a solid B+ grade, and here’s why:
As mentioned above Rosen is the most pro-ready passer in this draft. Throughout his collegiate career, Rosen consistently showcased consistency in his drop-backs, release, and correspondingly his accuracy. This past season Rosen led a depleted Bruins team to an undefeated home record. Including a phenomenal comeback win over Texas A&M University.
In Rosen’s high profile match up against highly touted USC quarterback Sam Darnold, Rosen threw for over 400 yards and 3 touchdowns. All coming in a game in which every professional scouting department in the NFL was watching. Rosen displayed an ability to push the ball downfield, but remained calculated throughout the game. Rosen clearly outplayed his rival, albeit in a losing effort.
With Rosen, the Cardinals are getting a rhythm passer with an exceptional grasp of innovative offensive concepts. During Rosen’s senior season, he was able to work with current Los Angeles Rams Offensive Assistant Jedd Fisch. With a wealth of NFL experience, Fisch’s role as UCLA’s offensive coordinator throughout Rosen’s final year in college should not be understated. Rosen’s work with Fisch should serve him well as he takes the jump to the professional level.
More than anything, Rosen seems like a perfect fit for Mike McCoy’s offense. McCoy loves to operate primarily out of shotgun formations, much like Fisch’s scheme at UCLA. Throughout McCoy’s coaching career, he has proven to be an asset for quarterback’s of various skill sets. But his best work has come with pure pocket passers.
Throughout his tenure in Carolina, McCoy was able to squeeze the best out of quarterback Jake Delhomme. When John Fox was hired by the Denver Broncos, McCoy did comparably impressive work with Kyle Orton. While McCoy’s tenure as the head coach of the San Diego Chargers can be debated, one thing is certain: he helped carry Phillip Rivers to new statistical heights.
Rosen comes to an Arizona team with an exciting young head coach, an offensive systems that tailors to his skill set, and an experienced veteran that he can learn from. If Rosen can stay healthy and remain engaged, he represents the Cardinals next best shot towards playoff success.
While Rosen stands out as the most impressive pure-passer in the 2018 Draft class, he dropped to the number ten pick for a reason. Rosen comes to Arizona with a polarizing attitude, and concerning health issues.
During the Bruins 2016 campaign, Rosen’s season was cut short by a soft-tissue injury to his throwing shoulder. The injury ultimately ended with Rosen receiving a surgical operation to repair tissue damage. Rosen’s shoulder seemed to hold up throughout an impressive 2017 season, but one more injury to his throwing shoulder and Rosen could face complications.
Just as concerning as the injury to his shoulder, are the two concussions Rosen suffered in his collegiate career. Rosen is a pure-pocket passer that relies heavily on strong offensive line play. Another head injury could result in a short career.
With a generally slight frame, Rosen could battle injuries throughout his NFL career. The Cardinals are hoping that Rosen can bulk up in the weight room, and avoid the injuries that impacted his collegiate tenure.
I think Rosen landed in the perfect location. As mentioned before, I have no doubt that head coach Steve Wilks will be able to keep Rosen motivated and impassioned. The McCoy-Rosen marriage could pay huge dividends, and considering Sam Bradford’s injury history, I would not be shocked to see Rosen on the field sooner than expected.
While I love the pick, I understand Rosen is not a flawless prospect. His slight frame and injury history concerns me, and his inability to improvise and create could ultimately limit his ability to single-handedly win games.
But the pros far out weight the cons with Rosen. Rosen’s footwork is exceptional, his passing rhythm is far superior to his peers, and he is coming to Arizona with a chip on his shoulder.
If the Cardinals can provide Rosen with the protection he needs up front, and slowly assemble a wide-receiving corps to pair with running back David Johnson, Rosen could grow into a quarterback with Matt Ryan-like upside. Only time will tell, but General Manager Steve Keim took a risk, and Cardinals fans should be excited.