Josh Rosen felt the biggest knock on him entering the NFL draft was that he had interests beyond football. Well, he’ll fit right in with noted volcano surfer Larry Fitzgerald. The Cardinals traded the 15th, 79th, and 152nd overall pick to the Raiders to move up five spots and select the UCLA quarterback 10th overall, and the Cardinals may have swung the immediate trajectory of their franchise from pure panic mode to playoff contender in the process.
After both head coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Carson Palmer retired after the 2017 season, the Cardinals were stuck with a roster built to win now but with vacancies at the two most important jobs for winning now. Arizona signed quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon in the offseason, but grabbing the most pro-ready prospect in the draft is the team’s best-case scenario.
The Cardinals leapfrogged the Miami Dolphins, who were rumored to be interested in Rosen as a replacement to the (somehow) soon-to-be-30-year-old Ryan Tannehill. In the aftermath, Miami ended up with Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick, and the Cardinals came away with the player many scouts considered the best in the draft.
Arizona’s quarterbacks in the past 10 years have been a graying Kurt Warner and a graying Carson Palmer, and then a motley list that includes Richard Bartel, Matt Leinart, Max Hall, Derek Anderson, John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, Brian Hoyer, Ryan Lindley, Logan Thomas, Drew Stanton, and Blaine Gabbert. After the team missed out on Kirk Cousins and Case Keenum in free agency, Rosen will be Larry Fitzgerald’s oasis in the Arizona quarterback desert. No, really—just look at his freshman dorm room:
(The people angry about Rosen having a hot tub in his freshman dorm are just jealous.)
Rosen is the first quarterback the Cardinals have drafted in the first round since Leinart, continuing the lineage of Cardinals taking quarterbacks who played college football in Los Angeles 10th overall.
Rosen worked out with Aaron Rodgers in the offseason, and he sounded Rodgers-esque when he said, “The chip [on my shoulder] is only growing bigger.”
Josh Rosen "The chip is only growing bigger" pic.twitter.com/RBhOJTLBsE— gifdsports (@gifdsports) April 27, 2018
The Cardinals now have their quarterback of their short- and long-term future for the first time in a decade. He immediately puts them back in contention for the NFC West title. And if Rosen’s career amounts to anything resembling Rodgers’s, the Cardinals got the steal of the draft.