Monday, January 25, 2021

Why The Arizona Cardinals And Kliff Kingsbury Set A Dangerous Precedent

The Arizona Cardinals were excited as 2018 was arguably one of the best NFL draft classes in recent memory, providing us with big names such as Baker Mayfield, Saquon Barkley, and Sam Darnold. Many teams such as the Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, and New York Jets bagged their future franchise QB’s in the hope to steer their teams in a new direction.

One of the biggest highlights of that particular draft year was the amount and caliber of QB prospects that were available. Josh Allen and Sam Darnold were among the top prospects of that year as was Josh Rosen. Although he did not get as much press as the other prospects on the board at the time, he was still rated to go in the first round on every mock draft people could get their hands on. It is interesting to note though that Lamaar Jackson fell hard, but turned out to be one of the most offensive-minded QB’s that year. Just ask any Dolphins fan after week one of this season.

The Arizona Cardinals traded up in the 2018 draft and selected Josh Rosen with the number 10 pick overall, stating to the media that they have their QB of the future and they would commit to building a team around him. Josh Rosen then proceeded to get hammered during the 2018 season after being let down by a poor O-Line and lacking any considerable weapons to use on offense. In fact, he was sacked 45 times and threw for 11/14 TD/INT. When compared to other QB’s that came up that year, it could be argued that Rosen was a draft bust, through no fault of his own.

Things took a dramatic change for the young QB when Arizona hired Kliff Kingsbury as their new head coach. Committed to bringing his wild Air Raid style offense to the mainstream NFL, rumours began to surface that he would be interested in the top QB prospect heading into the 2019 NFL Draft; Kyler Murray.

Arizona Cardinals traded up for Josh Rosen
Arizona Cardinals traded up for Josh Rosen

Arizona Cardinals have their QB of the future (again)

The Cardinals already stated that they have their QB of the future and that it was not confirmed that Kyler Murray would be drafted by them. But as draft day approached, it seemed inevitable that Kyler Murray was going to the Arizona Cardinals with the number one overall pick and that Josh Rosen was effectively hung out to dry by a team that traded up for him the previous year. As we now know, the rest is history. Murray is the new franchise QB for the Cardinals and Josh Rosen now plays back up at Miami.

But here is the thing. What the Arizona Cardinals did could be considered by some to be heartless while others maintain that the NFL is a business and that’s all it was – business. However, the Cardinals have now set a dangerous precedent for other prospects coming into the NFL from college in the future.

Here’s an example for you. Daniel Jones was selected by the Giants with the 6th overall pick (much to the dismay of the fans). Let’s argue he competes with an aging Eli Manning and gets the starter job halfway through the 2019 season. Yet even with fresh blood leading the offense, the Giants still fall hard and end up losing the majority of their games with Jones at the helm. Do the Giants just turn their backs on their draft pick and go with someone else?

With the amount of stud QB’s in college due to committing to the 2020 NFL draft, the Giants could decide that Jones isn’t working for them and go for a new leader upfront. What happens to Jones? Does he fall into obscurity or does he become a replacement?

Before the events of the 2019 NFL draft, it was unheard of for teams to give up on their top picks so early on in the season. Aaron Rogers spent years behind Brett Favre to become the player he is today, meanwhile players such as Alex Smith and Jimmy Garoppalo were chucked in at the deep end and they have developed into the franchise QB’s they are today. Josh Rosen did not have enough time to develop and learn to play QB at the NFL level. Many rookies struggle to adapt when they are drafted and I feel the Cardinals just walked away from him when he needed them the most.

The impression I get is that if a draft pick doesn’t work out for teams, then they can just go back to the drawing board and start again, killing the players’ confidence and also leaving him drifting in the wind. There does not seem to be any development or indeed, any patience to develop new players coming through the league.

It must be said that Josh Rosen handled the whole situation with the maturity of a young man who understands that business is just business. Being the back up to Ryan Tannehill may not be such a bad thing for Josh Rosen and the Miami Dolphins now have the opportunity to rebuild a team around a more than capable young QB.

As for Kyler Murray. In all honesty, he failed to impress me during the preseason and now that other teams have seen what the new offense is capable of, it won’t take long before defenses start to flatten the 2019 number 1 pick. Whether or not Murray will become a bust is another discussion for another day, but if I was him, I would be looking over my shoulder.

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