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‘Aggressive’ Arizona Cardinals land franchise quarterback in Josh Rosen

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
LISTEN: Steve Wilks, Cardinals Head Coach

TEMPE, Ariz. – And on his sixth draft as Arizona Cardinals general manager, Steve Keim finally landed his franchise quarterback.

“He’s got to earn that,” Keim said, referring to Josh Rosen, the former UCLA signal-caller whom the Cardinals selected Thursday with the 10th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Prior to Rosen, Keim had drafted just one quarterback in five previous drafts. And that quarterback, Logan Thomas, now plays tight end for the Buffalo Bills.

Rosen, who Arizona grabbed by trading from 15th to 10th, becomes the fifth quarterback on the Cardinals roster, joining Sam Bradford, Mike Glennon, Brandon Doughty and Alek Torgersen.

Yes, it’s a crowded quarterback room, but that was by design. Remember, not too long ago, the Cardinals were a team that had zero quarterbacks under contract for 2018.

“One of the primary goals this offseason was to be aggressive, not only in filling this roster with our specific needs but to be aggressive acquiring quarterbacks that we talked about at the combine, and that would not only be in free agency but in the draft process as well,” Keim said.

“Today, I think, was an indication of how we felt about Josh Rosen, trading from 15 to 10, and in our opinion, grabbing one of the best players in this draft, a guy who has got great intangibles, a three-year starter, a two-time captain and, in my opinion, one of the most mechanically sound quarterbacks to come out in quite time.”

The Cardinals, however, have no intention of handing Rosen the keys to the offense, at least not yet.

“When we acquired Sam, we got Sam to be our starting quarterback and I would still say that is the case,” head coach Steve Wilks said.

“When Sam is healthy, he is one of the best that we’ve seen around. We’re very excited about Josh and what he can bring but — every position is open for competition. When we line up against Washington in the first game of the season, the best 11 guys are going to go out there and start and play.”

To his credit and despite the accolades earned in college — Second Team All-Pac-12, Pac-12 Freshman Offensive Player of the Year and Freshman All-American — Rosen sounded OK with the patient approach the Cardinals have planned for him.

“I’m not going to come in and be an a-hole and think that my (expletive) don’t stink. I understand the situation. I’m going to come in and I’m going to be respectful,” he said, speaking to reporters on a conference call from Dallas.

“Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon are both two amazing quarterbacks, but we’re all professionals and we’re going to compete our butts off. And regardless of who the starter is, we’re all going to support that person. Obviously, I want to be the starter, but if I’m not, I’m going to support the team because I’m not Team Josh playing on the Arizona Cardinals. I’m part of the Arizona Cardinals, and I want to win Super Bowls for the Arizona Cardinals and I think over time that will work, it’ll happen.”

Drafting Rosen came at a cost but a reasonable one, according to Keim.

The Cardinals traded this year’s first-round pick (No. 15 overall) plus one of their two third-round picks (No. 79) and a fifth-round pick (No. 152) to move up five spots, where the Oakland Raiders were slotted to draft.

“Being able to still preserve our second-round pick and not giving up future 1s was extremely important to all of us,” said Keim, who raved about Rosen’s intelligence.

“I certainly feel better about acquiring a player with his tools and his skillset and knowing what he brings to the table, not only from a leadership side but understanding the game and being able to do all the things that we ask that position to do cerebrally.”

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