Cardinals need to fully commit to Josh Rosen’s development

Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals could trade Josh Rosen and draft Kyler Murray, but that would be the wrong idea.

As soon as the Arizona Cardinals secured that pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s comments about taking Kyler Murray first overall resurfaced. If they were to do so trading 2018 first-round pick Josh Rosen would be the follow-up move, and there would be a few suitors ready to cede draft picks to the Cardinals as they restock a talent-bare roster.

Rosen struggled as a rookie last year, completing just over 55 percent of his passes with 11 touchdowns, 14 interceptions and a 66.7 passer rating in 14 games (13 starts). He was also sacked 45 times, behind a Cardinals’ offensive line that was injury-depleted and signing guys off other teams’ practice squads to be starters by the end of the season.

Kingsbury has tried to turn aside the speculation regarding Murray, as he propped up Rosen last week by saying that “Josh is our guy.” Cardinals president Michael Bidwill conveyed a commitment to “build around the foundation we have.” Both sets of public comments are necessarily vague, as there’s nothing else the team can say regarding Murray or Rosen without tipping their hand.

Rosen was in a bad situation as a rookie, with a midseason offensive coordinator switch, a general lack of talent around him and the aforementioned depleted offensive line. The hiring of Kingsbury as head coach, to replace one-and-done Steve Wilks, was rooted in trying to finding an offensive mind to develop Rosen. The broader idea of turning around the league’s worst offense last year won’t be scrapped by trading Rosen, but Murray is a different type of quarterback and any early ground work that’s being laid behind the scenes would be for nothing.

Since they don’t need a quarterback, at least as a practical matter, and teams below them maybe willing to move up to get one, the Cardinals could trade out of the No. 1 pick. The idea they’d have any interest in drafting Murray is a piece of leverage, if anything, once they do go on the clock. Teams may also come calling with interest in Rosen, if they were to draft Murray.

Leaving aside any issue attached to his height, which will become official as an NFL matter at the upcoming Combine, Murray looks very slight in build. Quite frankly, he’s built more like a baseball outfielder (which he is/was) than an NFL quarterback. Couple that with his odd, say-nothing appearance on The Dan Patrick Show during Super Bowl week, and NFL general managers should be plenty hesitant to draft Murray and effectively put their jobs in his hands.

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But the Cardinals don’t have to deal with any of the questions, or invite the potential nonsense, attached to Murray. They have their quarterback of the future in Rosen, and a firm commitment to making sure he reaches his potential has to be the franchise’s No. 1 priority until further notice.

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