Cardinals’ Josh Rosen ranked No. 3 in Pro Football Focus’ rookie QBs
Aug 12, 2018, 2:57 PM | Updated: Aug 13, 2018, 3:07 pm
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Arizona Cardinals rookie Josh Rosen has a chip on his shoulder after nine teams passed on him in the 2018 NFL Draft.
He expressed that those teams made “mistakes” in doing so.
Prior to the first preseason game, Pro Football Focus may have given the 21-year-old another chip on his shoulder — it ranked Rosen third among rookie quarterbacks.
In college, the UCLA product threw for 9,340 total career yards and 59 touchdowns. He has the size, intangibles and potential.
Why is he not considered No. 1?
According to Pro Football Focus:
“The question for Rosen is why he never put together a dominant season at UCLA despite having first-round tools and he must improve his decision-making after ranking 25th out of 38 draft-class quarterbacks in avoiding turnover-worthy plays.”
The two ahead of him, Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold, put together masterful seasons at Oklahoma and USC, respectively.
All three quarterbacks debuted in the first week of preseason.
Mayfield came off the bench and went 11-for-20 with 212 yards and two touchdowns for the Cleveland Browns.
How did the No. 1 overall pick look in his preseason debut?
EVERY @bakermayfield throw from #CLEvsNYG! pic.twitter.com/QLJQezjNT7
— NFL (@NFL) August 10, 2018
He missed some throws, but a couple plays that highlight his potential:
Mayfield showed good footwork around the 0:30 mark. Then, at the 1:00 mark, he went through his progressions well and got the ball between two defenders for a touchdown. Finally, around the 2:30 mark, he threw a dime while running from defenders for a 24-yard gain.
Pro Football Focus wrote that Mayfield, who was ranked No. 1, “owns the best two single-season grades we have ever given to a college quarterback, and was elite in almost any situation.”
Darnold, ranked No. 2, completed the highest rate of passes of the three by going 13-of-18 for the New York Jets. He had 96 yards passing and a touchdown.
The No. 3 overall pick looked sharp in his preseason debut.
EVERY Sam Darnold throw + touch from #ATLvsNYJ! pic.twitter.com/XyjpIvtNzE
— NFL (@NFL) August 11, 2018
Watch at the 0:15 mark as he’s about to get sacked but finds a man short for a first down.
And while Darnold often got rid of the ball quickly, he showed good mobility in the pocket and waited until his man was open around the 1:25 mark. His touchdown pass, at 1:50, also was a product of his footwork, as he escaped the pocket and allowed his receiver to catch the throw just before stepping out of bounds.
“Darnold has the NFL throws in his bag … but he “must cut back on the poor decisions and ugly fumbles that marred his redshirt-sophomore season,” Pro Football Focus wrote.
Rosen was the only one of the three who didn’t lead his team to a touchdown. He had a pedestrian stat line of 6-for-13 with 41 yards.
With that said, Rosen didn’t get much help from teammates. He was hit on his first pass, had to scoop low snaps all half and his receivers couldn’t catch the ball with pressure on their backs.
Every @josh3rosen throw from his @AZCardinals preseason debut! #LACvsAZ pic.twitter.com/TPPYHMOGex
— NFL (@NFL) August 12, 2018
Rosen’s best play came at the 0:25 mark, when he fielded a low snap, escaped pressure and threw a bullet to tight end Gabe Holmes.
But perhaps his most impressive throw, around 2:10, was a back-shoulder toss to receiver Greg Little that was initially ruled complete but later reversed to out of bounds.
With that said, he also nearly threw an interception around the 1:10 mark.
One preseason game is far too early to proclaim one highly-touted rookie quarterback better than the other with confidence. Rosen will try to show his worth as the preseason continues.