For the Arizona Cardinals, the 2018 NFL Draft focused on several keys.
First was about finding their quarterback. From the time the team signed Sam Bradford, it was obvious they needed to add a quarterback in the draft.
Reports surfaced early that Cardinals took a shine to Josh Allen, then late they were said to love first overall pick Baker Mayfield.
Yet, it wasn’t until late in the process, really the Mike Mayock yearly mock draft, that we began to discuss the real possibility of Josh Rosen being an Arizona Cardinal.
It was always thought, or assumed, that Rosen, the talented yet enigmatic quarterback for the UCLA Bruins, would be a top five pick.
Yet, when the draft began and Baker Mayfield was taken first overall, it changed the entire trajectory of the 2018 NFL Draft.
Sam Darnold fell to three.
Bradley Chubb fell to five.
That meant Josh Allen and Josh Rosen were out of the top five and that they were now fair game for the quarterback needy teams outside of that 6-10 zone.
The Indianapolis Colts couldn’t be swayed to pass on the last of the big three they had graded in Quenton Nelson, so it became the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who were the team to move down.
In came the Buffalo Bills and the question became, which Josh did they covet.
From everything we have read and heard, the Bills had Josh Allen as their top quarterback, which meant now was the time to put up or shut up.
The Bills, ripe with picks, had swung and missed to move up to five, they offered both picks 12 and 22, plus the 53rd pick in the draft.
Instead, they made the move up to seven and gave up both of their second round picks, 53 and 56, while also swapping the 12th pick for number seven.
That lead them to Josh Allen, which meant it was Josh Rosen as the last of the “Big Four” quarterbacks on the board.
The funny part is, according to the experts, the analyst and the non-NFL guys, Josh Rosen was the consensus top quarterback, according to Arif Hasan who yearly aggregates such information.
In fact, Rosen was the sixth overall prospect, Sam Darnold, consensus QB2, was the eighth, Baker Mayfield, consensus QB3, was 11 and Lamar Jackson, consensus QB4, was player 21 overall.
That meant, when the time came for the Arizona Cardinals to make their move, they had the public consensus top quarterback and number six overall player available and all it cost them was a third and fifth round pick.
When you look at the value, the Cardinals were able to secure the best quarterback in the 2018 NFL Draft, from the consensus, and also gave up much less than the Bills had to in order to move up five picks to secure their quarterback.
When it comes to the player, Josh Rosen has little in terms of questions of his ability on the field. In fact, if you read most of the critiques of Rosen, they all fall in the way of health concerns and attitude off the field.
What about on the field?
Rosen has a more than adequate arm, it is not Josh Allen, but it isn’t Chad Pennington either. His biggest issue is trying to do too much. In a number of ways, it is similar to what we saw with Carson Palmer at the helm.
Instead of taking the checkdown, taking what the defense gives you, Rosen will stand tall, hold onto the ball and wait for the intermediate or deep route to come open, because he sees that it will be open.
That requires him to take too many unnecessary big hits, which in turn has lead to some of his health issues at UCLA.
What Rosen can do is better than many prospects we see coming out.
We’ll take a full length look at Rosen over the course of the summer, but for a little taste, this is what Rosen can do from my buddy Ian Wharton:
Good third down extension here despite tight coverage and pressure closing in. On the money throw. pic.twitter.com/HgHvT3HGwv— Ian Wharton (@NFLFilmStudy) September 4, 2017
Rosen is one of the stronger intermediate passers in my catchable pass database and his ability to thread the needle is why. pic.twitter.com/45yJA3fnSw— Ian Wharton (@NFLFilmStudy) September 4, 2017
Very possibly Rosen's best throw of the night considering the pressure on the play and the overall moment. pic.twitter.com/inpskxIgZD— Ian Wharton (@NFLFilmStudy) September 4, 2017
It's the little things that can add up. Rosen and the receiver recognize the corner blitz immediately and attacks it. pic.twitter.com/xzdRectLW6— Ian Wharton (@NFLFilmStudy) September 16, 2017
Smooth and easy pic.twitter.com/OlcFQU7jBW— Ian Wharton (@NFLFilmStudy) September 16, 2017
This is a difficult route to hit, let alone great coverage. But Rosen has the touch and placement from his end zone. pic.twitter.com/SO3t5s3e46— Ian Wharton (@NFLFilmStudy) September 16, 2017
Rosen has the ability to reset his eyes and feet off play-action. Shows great zip and placement on a third-and-20 here. pic.twitter.com/uAOYklUIik— Ian Wharton (@NFLFilmStudy) September 27, 2017
Rosen's been a below-average deep ball passer but this throw on the flea-flicker was spot on. Great placement despite pressure. pic.twitter.com/1zpK0b6fNU— Ian Wharton (@NFLFilmStudy) October 7, 2017
Big time red zone throw on third and goal rolling to his left with pressure in his face. Spot on. pic.twitter.com/r0BNOmWUGH— Ian Wharton (@NFLFilmStudy) October 21, 2017
Fantastic deep touch on the play action post. Would love to see more of this from Rosen pic.twitter.com/ANOOvgZmBz— Ian Wharton (@NFLFilmStudy) November 18, 2017
This is fantastic placement, poise in the pocket and confidence all shown to deliver this game-winner. pic.twitter.com/B4cOAwZZzF— Ian Wharton (@NFLFilmStudy) November 18, 2017
The fact of the matter is. Steve Keim was able to get his guy and do it without giving up too much. Rosen has a readiness in his game, but he also has enough to work on, we’ll get to that too, that his upside is special.
The stars aligned for the Cardinals on draft night and they took advantage.