With the NFL draft always comes a shocking headline. Look no further than the 2018 draft when quarterback and 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens with the final pick of the first round, leading to the replacement of Super Bowl champion Joe Flacco. Or Eli Manning being drafted first overall by the San Diego Chargers in the 2004 NFL draft, while future Super Bowl champion Drew Brees was on the team, only to be traded to the New York Giants for fourth overall pick Philip Rivers — Manning has also won the Super Bowl, while Rivers and the Chargers remain empty-handed. Thankfully, this year did not disappoint.
“With the first pick, the Arizona Cardinals select Kyler Murray.” Commissioner Roger Goodell’s call rang out in Nashville and quarterback Josh Rosen’s heart likely stopped in Scottsdale, AZ. One year after being chosen tenth overall by the Cardinals, Rosen watched his replacement selected with the first overall pick. The Cardinals said they might keep both players and have them compete for the starting job, with the other being most likely the best backup in the league. But there is a good chance Rosen knew, in that moment, there was no way he’d be given a fair chance. No one would admit their tenth overall pick is better than their first, especially not publicly. Rosen was traded a day later, April 26, to the Miami Dolphins for Miami’s second-round pick and 2020 fifth-round pick. Rosen was shipped off to South Florida, a year after quarterbacking the worst team in football.
Of course, fans wouldn’t be blamed for not taking to Rosen. There have been actions of his in the past that could be construed as “incendiary.” Truthfully, he has said and done something rather arrogant things, such as posting on Instagram about the hot tub in his room, or claiming the nine picks before him in the draft were “mistakes.” But what most don’t see is the side of Rosen that cares so much more about things bigger than himself. They don’t see the video he made saying goodbye to Arizona, good luck to Murray and hello to Miami. They don’t see Rosen baring his political feelings to the world and accepting the criticism that comes with wearing a “F— Trump” hat at a Trump golf course in California. When later speaking on the incident, Rosen repented. Why? Rosen said he regretted using “f—” because he’s a role model for children. It seems clear Rosen has been misrepresented by the media, and maybe a little by himself.
But for many, Rosen will continue to unfairly be seen as the reason the Cardinals had the worst record in the league last season. Not the worst offensive line in the league, as rated by Pro Football Focus (PFF), that saw 11 different linemen play this past season, or the 22 dropped passes by Cardinals receivers — good for eighth-worst in the league — or even the lack of a reliable run game outside of David Johnson. No, somehow it was the fault of the rookie quarterback who, despite all of these setbacks, only threw three more interceptions than touchdowns. There’s just something satisfying about a player proving an organization wrong, and while there is no ill will wished on Kyler Murray, it’s hard not to hope for the Cardinals to have yet another terrible season.