Josh Rosen Can Start Immediately for the Arizona Cardinals
Prior to the draft, rumors were abound that UCLA Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen might slide down the draft board.
While Rosen was the fourth quarterback drafted in Round 1, he didn't have to wait too long to hear his name called as the Arizona Cardinals traded up into the top-10 to pick the UCLA passer.
The Cardinals gave up a third-round pick (79th overall) and a fifth-rounder (152nd overall) to move up from 15 to 10 to select Rosen. Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, and Josh Allen all went before Rosen, making it the first time that four quarterbacks have been drafted inside the top-10.
Although Rosen was the fourth quarterback drafted, he's potentially the quarterback most ready to step in and play on Day 1 based on his pedigree. He'll have to compete with Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon for playing time, but it will be a training camp battle that Rosen can win. He could find himself starting for the Cardinals sooner rather than later.
Rosen at UCLA
The 6'4", 226-pound Rosen was a three-year starter at UCLA, leading the Bruins to a 17-13 record in his 30 starts. Across those 30 games, Rosen threw for more than 300 yards in 17, a UCLA school record.
In 2015, Rosen became the first ever true freshman to start a season opener for the Bruins, and his freshman campaign was promising. He went on to throw for 3,670 yards, 23 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions, earning the PAC-12 Freshman Offensive Player of the Year and leading the Bruins to an 8-5 record.
Over the next two seasons, Rosen would start 17 games for the Bruins -- going 9-8 in those games -- but he missed a total of nine games during his sophomore and junior years due to a shoulder injury as a sophomore and two concussions as a junior, which forced him to miss two games, including the Bruins' bowl game.
Rosen's shoulder injury is particularly concerning because he has a history of shoulder issues dating back to his high school years. A tennis star in high school, a shoulder injury forced him to give up tennis until his senior season.
But while at UCLA, Rosen displayed a lot of traits that make him look like a franchise quarterback. Draft analysts Dane Brugler and Greg Cosell have both compared Rosen to Matt Ryan while PlayerProfiler.com has listed Rosen's closest comparable prospect to Eli Manning.
Entering the NFL, Rosen is coming off his age-20 season, but he started 30 games in college, which may be a positive indicator for potential success in the NFL as Jim Sannes discussed in his evaluation on whether age matters for quarterback prospects.
How Rosen Fits With Arizona
Running up to the draft, Rosen was a curious case because the concerns that he would slip in the draft were not necessarily due to his on-the-field performance but rather his life off-the-field. Peter King has reported that some teams believe Rosen is "too smart for his own good" and "he's a crappy leader."
But the Cardinals, who might have had the worst quarterback situation in the league entering the draft, traded one pick in front of the Miami Dolphins to move up and get their potential quarterback of the future. It's the first time that the Cardinals have picked a quarterback in the first three rounds since 2006 when they took Matt Leinart at 10th overall.
Last season was a disappointing one for the Cardinals as they lost running back David Johnson for the season in Week 1, and Carson Palmer played in just seven games. With Palmer retiring, the Cardinals signed Bradford and Glennon in free agency, but with their injury history and overall ineffectiveness, Rosen may be in line to see playing time early in the season.
The Cardinals have a new coaching staff entering 2018 with Steve Wilks replacing Bruce Arians and Mike McCoy taking over as offensive coordinator. Wilks was previously the defensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers, while McCoy is coming to Arizona after serving as the offensive coordinator for Denver last season.
Denver's passing game struggled last season as they started three different quarterbacks, ending the season as the second-worst passing offense, per our metrics at numberFire. With Palmer, Blaine Gabbert, and Drew Stanton under center for the Cardinals, Arizona's passing attack wasn't much better, finishing as the fifth-worst, according to our metrics.
But with an exciting rookie prospect in Rosen and Johnson returning to the lineup, there could be an offensive resurgence in the desert this upcoming season.