Saturday, August 15, 2020

Josh Rosen – An NFL Tragedy

It can be argued that the 2018 NFL Draft class offered some of the best QB prospects the league had seen in many years. Baker Mayfield, Josh Allen, Sam Darnold, and Lamar Jackson have gone on to lead the teams that drafted them and for better or for worse, they are destined to become the face of that franchise. But one QB prospect from that year is already having a disastrous NFL career. That player is Josh Rosen.

Josh Rosen’s career in High School and College was a mixed bag. He broke multiple records when in High School and was even named Los Angeles Times player of the year after throwing for 3,186 yards, and a 29/4 TD/INT rate.

His college career was a mixed bag after making huge waves during his Freshman year before being ruled out the following year with a number of concussions and a shoulder injury that required surgery. This would rule him out for his Sophmore year, but he bounced back in his Junior year before deciding to declare for the 2018 NFL Draft.

Josh Rosen’s troubles started before the draft

Before the combine, Josh Rosen’s Draft capital was high with some mock drafts expecting him to go in the top 5. However, many teams, coaches, and NFL fans were concerned by his outspoken attitude and his ‘spoilt child’ demeanour. He vowed to silence his critics in the 2018 NFL combine when he was given the opportunity to showcase his skills alongside the other QB prospects.

Rosen did not perform poorly in the draft, far from it, but other prospects such as Josh Allen and Sam Darnold put on a better show than he did, causing his draft capital to fall. This would become evident on Draft Day when he and Jackson were the only QB’s sitting in the green room.

Josh Rosen was selected number 10 overall by the Cardinals © Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Josh Rosen was selected number 10 overall by the Cardinals © Tom Pennington/Getty Images

However, he would still be drafted by in the top ten when the Arizona Cardinals traded up to land him with the 10th pick overall. The Cardinals expressed in pre-season interviews and during their training camp that they had found their QB of the future and would start his NFL career as the back up after winning the job from Mike Glennon. Rosen would go on to make his NFL debut during week 4 of the 2018 season, replacing Sam Bradford in the last quarter against the Chicago Bears.

In fairness, a lot of the problems that Josh Rosen faced in Arizona were not his fault. The Arizona offensive line was full of holes, leading to him being sacked 45 times and often being hurried in the pocket to make plays.

As we saw with the Browns, if your QB spends more time on the floor than he does on his feet, then it is impossible to see any offence score points. The Cardinals fired their Head Coach Steve Wilks halfway through the season and replaced him with Kliff Kingsbury. Unbeknown to Josh Rosen, this would mark the beginning of the end for his time in the desert.

Kingsbury immediately set out on bringing the Air Raid offence to the NFL, a run-heavy, short pass scheme that Rosen would struggle to fit into. In college, a young QB called Kyler Murray was quickly making a name for himself. As the season came to a close, the Cardinals posted a 3-13 record, securing the first-round pick for the 2019 NFL Draft, whole Rosen posted just 2, 278 yards, and an 11/14 TD/INT ratio.

All change in Arizona

The Cards quickly dumped Josh Rosen for Kyler Murray © Christian Petersen/Getty Images
The Cards quickly dumped Josh Rosen for Kyler Murray © Christian Petersen/Getty Images

As we all know, the Cardinals selected Kyler Murray with the first pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, reuniting Kingsbury with Kyler Murray, a partnership that seems to have had some success. As a result, Josh Rosen was unceremoniously traded to the Dolphins for a second-round pick. But if you had thought the Dolphins would be a better team for Rosen, you couldn’t be more wrong.

The Dolphins named Rosen the backup QB to Ryan Fitzpatrick, giving him the opportunity to win the starting job in training camp. However, Rosen would only go on to start three games for the Dolphins, posting a miserable 567 yards and a 1/5 TD/INT ratio.

Even though it could be argued that the Dolphins are clearly in rebuild mode and were tanking for draft picks, it is still a disappointing and underwhelming first year with the franchise, regardless of the fact he was a backup.

At this point, I would be optimistic to say that the future can only look brighter for this struggling and obviously under-appreciated young QB. However, the Dolphins drafted Tua Tagovailoa in the first round of this year’s draft, a young college player who is destined to become of the face of the franchise in Miami.

So will the Dolphins stick with Rosen as their backup and allow Fitzpatrick to mentor the heir apparent in Tua or will we eventually see Rosen shipped off to another franchise?

Although Josh Rosen’s story is not unheard of, it is unusual for this to happen to a player with such a huge amount of potential. Not only did the Cardinals set a dangerous precedent by trading away their first-round pick after only a year, but it also sent a message across the NFL – results matter.

One thing that Josh Rosen has proved to everyone is how mature he is. No matter what has been thrown at him and no matter what he has been faced with, he has kept his head down and worked hard.

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