Josh Rosen is a Cardinal. Arizona took the former UCLA quarterback with the No. 10 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft on Thursday, trading up to get him.
Rosen immediately becomes a franchise cornerstone, with the plan surely that he’ll be under center in Glendale for the next decade.
Rosen has been in the spotlight for years. He was a five-star recruit out of high school, ranked as the consensus the No. 1 pro-style passer in the class of 2015. He never put together a Heisman Trophy season at UCLA, but he was a pretty good player for three years there, despite dealing with injuries and getting almost no help from his running game.
The 21-year-old had a 140 passer rating in college, with a career-high 147 in 2017, his junior year. He missed half of his sophomore season, but he returned to average 8.3 yards per attempt and throw 26 touchdowns to 10 interceptions in 2017.
Off the field, he’s one of the draft’s most interesting prospects. Rosen has often been eager to weigh in on social issues in public, which is great but not common for top draft QBs. He’s sometimes gotten into hot water for provocative soundbites, but those have often been taken out of context during longer discussions about issues like the NCAA and politics. Some people take Rosen as a jerk, but that’s not a fair characterization.
Why did the Cards pick Rosen?
Rosen is projectable. He has a big, accurate right arm, and evaluators have always swooned over his ability to see the field, go through reads, and deliver strikes. If you have faith in your quarterback coach to get the most out of his players, it’s easy to think Rosen has more upside than any other quarterback in the class. He has a really high ceiling — like, multiple All-Pro seasons and regular contention for MVP awards — if he develops right.
Can he start right away?
Yeah. Rosen is better right now than at least a handful of starting NFL quarterbacks. Whether he plays immediately is unclear, though. While he might be helpful from the outset, if his new team doesn’t think that’s the best course for Rosen’s development, he’ll sit for at least a few games. That’s not uncommon for highly drafted quarterbacks.
What’s the risk?
We saw some of it in college. Rosen has been injured a good bit. He’s had at least one concussion that caused him to miss time, and he had a bum shoulder that cut his 2016 season short. He hasn’t proven that he can carry an offense to success when other things aren’t going right, and he’s not the kind of athlete who’s going to make a big difference in a game with his legs. A lot falls on his right arm, but at least it’s a great right arm.