Inside Slant

The Sports Xchange

April 29, 2018 at 10:44 pm.

Cardinals 2018 draft: Future set with QB Rosen

While Steve Keim was recently referencing the 2013 trade that brought quarterback Carson Palmer from the Raiders to the Arizona Cardinals for what basically amounted to a seventh-round pick, the general manager noted that someone wrote Arizona got Palmer for “a ham sandwich.”

If that was the case five years ago, then the Cardinals fleeced the Raiders again this year by trading up five spots to steal UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen with the 10th overall pick for nothing more than a pizza and a plate of wings.

In the 6-foot-4 Rosen, a three-year starter for the Bruins, the Cardinals finally found their franchise quarterback of the future and all it cost them was a third- and fifth-round pick in this year’s draft. To give up so little for one of the top four quarterback prospects in this year’s class and the one that all scouts agree is the most NFL-ready, that’s almost grand larceny.

The Cardinals hadn’t drafted a quarterback higher than the fourth round since they selected Matt Leinart 10th overall in 2006. Even though he acquired veterans Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon as free agents this offseason following Palmer’s decision to retire, Keim knew he needed to draft a young quarterback who had a chance to eventually be the team’s long-term fix.

But would he draft one at the expense of selling the farm and potentially setting the franchise back three to five years if he gave up too much and the quarterback didn’t pan out?

Turns out, he didn’t have to mortgage the future at all.

“To be able to go from 15 to 10 and give up what we did, we were extremely comfortable with,” Keim said. “Coach (Steve Wilks), (president) Michael (Bidwill), and I talked about it. Again, being able to still preserve our second-round pick and not giving up future ones was extremely important to all of us.”

Bradford is still expected to be Arizona’s starting quarterback, but Wilks raised some eyebrows after the pick of Rosen when he didn’t throw his full support behind Bradford.

“The best 11 guys are going to go out there and play,” Wilks said. “When we acquired Sam, we got Sam to be our starting quarterback and I would still say that is the case. When Sam is healthy, he’s one of the best that we’ve seen around. We’re very excited about Josh and what he can bring, but every position is open for competition. When we line up against Washington for the first game of the season, the best 11 guys will go out there and start.”

Mike McCoy, the Cardinals’ offensive coordinator, said Rosen has the talent and skills to be able to start right away, assuming the Cardinals’ quarterback room was bare.

“He is a natural passer and that’s the one thing you see in all the film you watch,” McCoy said. “It’s effortless for him to go out there and throw the football. He just goes out there and makes it look easy. He’s had a great career and I think it will carry over to here. … He’s got a bright future in the league.”

Rosen said he plans to always put the team ahead of himself and will sit, watch and learn if he is asked to play behind both Bradford and Glennon. That’s quite a compromise for an outspoken quarterback who ripped the nine teams that passed on him when he said, “Nine mistakes were made ahead of me and I will make sure over the next decade or so that they made a mistake.”

“First and foremost, I’m an Arizona Cardinal. It’s team before everything,” Rosen said. “I want to help the team win in absolutely any possible way that I can. … Maybe if it’s four, five, six years down the road and I’m not starting, I might get a little bit antsy. But at least for the time being, I’m going to do whatever (McCoy) asks me to do to the absolute best of my ability.

“I’m not going to be the guy that comes in and thinks he’s the man from Day 1.”




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