(EDITOR’S NOTE: To access the Kent Somers interview, fast-forward to 12:30 of the attachment above)
The Arizona Cardinals have a dilemma.
They have the first pick in next month’s NFL draft, and their head coach – Kliff Kingsbury – once said if he had the No. 1 choice in the 2019 NFL draft he’d choose Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray.
Well, he does have the No. 1 choice, and Kyler Murray is on the board. So what’s the problem?
Josh Rosen, that’s what.
He’s a quarterback, too. But he’s more than that. He’s the quarterback the Cardinals chose with their first draft pick a year ago. Rosen wound up starting 13 games, did little to distinguish himself and now has to wonder how committed the Cards are … or should be … to him.
It’s a good question and one we posed to Cardinals’ insider and Hall-of-Fame voter Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast. Essentially, it boils down to this: If you had to make the first pick for Arizona, what would you do?
“I would try to trade down,” said Somers, “but not too far, so I could still get one of the elite defensive players there. Failing that, I would stay in that spot and draft Nick Bosa or Quinnen Williams. I really would.
“This Cardinals’ defense underachieved last year. It should have been much better than it was. You add one of those guys (and) it’s a good enough unit to sort through and survive while Kingsbury can work what they hope is magic on the other side of the ball.”
The other side of the ball, of course, is where Rosen resides. And his rookie year was a mixed bag, with 11 touchdown passes, 14 interceptions, a 55.2 completion percentage and a 3-10 record. What those numbers don’t explain is the lack of support he had from a rushing attack that was last in the league and from an offensive line and receiving corps that were decimated by injuries.
“I don’t think they’ve soured on Josh Rosen at all,” Somers said of the Cards. “He had a very rough rookie year, but nobody knows better the struggles that team went through last year than the people that were in the building. He had very little chance to succeed … It was just a terrible, terrible offense. I don’t think any quarterback could have looked good playing with that group.”
So what does that mean for the Cardinals and Kyler Murray … if it means anything?
“I like Kyler Murray,” said Somers. “I followed Oklahoma football a lot. I saw every game he played last year. I think he can be successful in this league, but I don’t think he’s Baker Mayfield. I don’t think he’s a guy who’s going to come in as a rookie the second half of his rookie season and take the league by storm.
“I saw enough of Josh Rosen in training camp and the first half of the season last year to think he’s talented enough to succeed at this level. He cares enough. He works hard off the field. He put in the time. Hs teammates like him. I think he has all of those things that are required to be successful.
“So that’s what I would do. I don’t think I would sit there at No. 1 and take Kyler Murray.”