Josh Rosen is in a great place to start his career. Playing in Arizona, under offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, Rosen was granted arguably the most ideal landing spot among the top four quarterbacks taken in this year’s NFL Draft.
He has a reputation for being confident and aggressive both on and off the field. Since being selected with the number ten overall pick, Rosen has been extremely vocal on many fronts. He immediately let everyone know that the teams who passed on him in favor of the other top prospects, would quickly regret their respective decisions. It’s always great when an athlete has so much confidence in himself, but it’s important to stay humble at the same time. Rosen has never stepped foot on an NFL field, and he certainly will have growing pains in his transition to the NFL.
So what should we expect from Rosen in 2018? Will he be the star that many believe he is? Will he struggle coming out of the gate? Or will the Cardinals simply let him sit on the bench and learn the ins and outs of the game, in an effort to put him in the best position to succeed?
The first obstacle for Rosen even getting a chance to start is the presence of Sam Bradford. The former number one overall pick has shifted to a new team and city once again, hoping to stay healthy this time around. The fact that Arizona gave him a big contract speaks volumes regarding his likely role in the upcoming season. Bradford’s contract included a $10 million signing bonus, $5 million in base salary, and an additional $5 million in per-game roster bonuses. In other words, as long as Bradford is on the roster, the Cardinals are paying him huge amounts of cash. Releasing him would be even more foolish considering they have guaranteed him at least $15 million in compensation. Considering all of these details, it’s very difficult to envision a scenario where Bradford is not under center to start the season. This, of course, puts a major damper on the expectations for production from Rosen.
Moreover, Larry Fitzgerald will turn 35 years old prior to the start of the season. One of the all-time greats (who doesn’t seem to be slowing down) has little time left to leave his mark on the league. Fitzgerald’s window of opportunity is naturally nearing its end, and the team would be wise to maximize his output before he hangs up his cleats. Bradford has a lot of experience in the NFL. While it clearly has not all gone as well as he might have hoped, he should be the better option relative to Rosen at this point in their respective careers.
Arizona expects to be competitive this season. Entering last year, the team had high hopes with a solid defense, as well as very strong pieces on the offensive side of the ball. Now getting running back David Johnson back to full health, the Cardinals will once again begin the season with a clean slate of optimism for a playoff run. Unless this team underperforms early in the season, Rosen will most likely ride the bench in his first season as a pro.
Let’s not forget just how raw Rosen was prior to being drafted. He has a massive arm, which is not something that can be learned. But his decision-making is questionable, and that is something that could be extremely costly in the NFL. It takes time for any rookie quarterback to adjust to the speed of the NFL. The players are faster, stronger, and generally better football players. Some of the greatest quarterbacks in history benefited from sitting out their first year, and simply learning everything they can, including what not to do. Rosen has a golden opportunity to do just that. Ultimately, he has all the tools to be a successful starting quarterback in the NFL. But it could take some time before we see that happen.