Rosen finally gets drafted
The Arizona Cardinals traded up to the No. 10 position in the NFL draft Thursday night and selected UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen as their quarterback of the future.
The trade with the Oakland Raiders jumped them one spot ahead of the Miami Dolphins, who were also thought to be interested in Rosen.
Arizona gave up their No. 15 pick along with selections in the third and fifth rounds to move up.
The Cardinals signed free agent Sam Bradford to a one-year deal this offseason, likely giving the former Bruin a chance to sit and learn from the veteran for a season before he takes over.
Rosen is arguably the most mechanically sound thrower in this year’s draft class.
That’s not to say that Rosen is the perfect prospect. Far from it, actually.
Rosen, who just turned 21 in February, easily has the best footwork and throwing mechanics of any of the potential first-round quarterback prospects in this year’s draft class.
Many scouts point to Rosen’s time as a prodigal tennis player when he was much younger as a big reason his footwork is so much more polished than his peers’.
Those sound mechanics helped Rosen complete 62.6 percent of his passes for an impressive 3,756 yards and 26 touchdowns in his final year at UCLA. Those figures were all career-highs.
It may not be sexy, but Rosen’s fundamentals are his biggest strength. While teams could covet Josh Allen’s arm strength or Baker Mayfield’s playmaking, Rosen offers the most refinement of the prospects.
Rosen’s sound mechanics are key, because his other physical attributes aren’t exactly eye-popping. Rosen ran a 4.92-second 40-yard dash at the combine. That’s great… for an offensive lineman.
But nobody cares about how fast a pocket quarterback can run. The fact remains that Rosen is a mechanically proficient, NFL-ready prospect with tons of football IQ.
Unfortunately for Rosen and his fans, his biggest issues have nothing to do with his skills as a thrower of the football.
The chief concern is his injury history. He’s already had surgery done on his throwing shoulder, which cost him the majority of his sophomore year at UCLA.
Any structural weakness in the throwing arm could be a long-term dealbreaker, particularly if Rosen plays behind a poor offensive line.
Just as worrisome as the throwing shoulder surgery is his history of concussions. In today’s hyper-cautious world, it might not take much of a hit for a coach to pull Rosen from a game due to brain damage concerns. Concussions cost Rosen a game in his final season with UCLA.
The second-most-common criticism of him is a much more abstract issue than injuries.
Time and time again, Rosen has shown himself to be an extremely outspoken person who has significant interests outside of football. In and of itself, that’s not a big problem. In today’s post-Colin Kaepernick NFL landscape? Teams were justifiably cautious in scouting Rosen.
And while being outspoken or having outside interests has nothing to do with a person’s ability to play quarterback, it does present a potential quagmire.
What if Rosen starts protesting the national anthem? What if he is bad for team chemistry? What if Rosen clashes with his coach and inhibits his playing time and development? In all three of those hypothetical scenarios, his team might be stuck with the unenviable decision of whether to cut him.
Does any NFL team want to deal with all of that when it comes to a first-round pick?
Ultimately, Rosen will judged based on what he accomplishes on the field. He just has to make sure that a polarizing personality and spotty injury history don’t derail his very apparent potential.
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