Josh Rosen and the Miami Dolphins need each other. After a bizarre week that started with Rosen taking snaps as the Cardinals' starting quarterback at the team's voluntary minicamp, then detoured into a social media non-story spurred by Arizona's selection of quarterback Kyler Murray first overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, Rosen needed a fresh start. Just months after embarking on another organizational reboot, the Dolphins needed a promising young arm to evaluate in 2019 as part of their newfound long-term vision. Shedding future commitments and picking up draft picks is nice, but any plans to reconstruct Miami's roster will begin with identifying some young players to build around.
Any team without a locked-in franchise quarterback should attempt to take a swing on one every season until a keeper is found. That's why I can't blame the Cardinals for replacing Rosen one year after they drafted him 10th overall, and it's also why he's such an incredibly low-risk, high-reward pickup for the Dolphins, who traded for Rosen on Friday, sending a second-round pick this year and a fifth-rounder in 2020 to Arizona.
The Dolphins could not have managed value in this draft any better. Instead of taking Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins in Round 1, the Dolphins drafted Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins No. 13 overall, picked up a 2020 second-round pick from the Saints to trade down from No. 48 to No. 62 and grabbed the next three years on Rosen's contract, with his fifth-year option tacked on.
Rosen was widely regarded as the best pure passer in last year's draft for a reason. Anyone who took the time to actually watch Rosen's snaps last season -- not just his meltdown on "Thursday Night Football" against the Broncos -- saw enough of his uncanny anticipation and touch to believe far better days possibly remain ahead.
The overwhelming ineptitude of the 2018 Cardinals offense may have ended Sam Bradford's playing career, Steve Wilks' career as a head coach and Mike McCoy's career as an offensive coordinator, but Rosen still has plenty of time to turn his own NFL future around. He can take solace that he'll never play behind an offensive line as bad as the one in Arizona last season again.
Playing quarterback for the Dolphins in 2019 may look like a similarly impossible mission, but Rosen should benefit from his 13 games of experience as a 21-year-old starter. Dolphins offensive coordinator Chad O'Shea comes from New England, and his offensive philosophies appear to be a good match with Rosen's strengths in the pocket and his ability to identify coverage before and after the snap. Dolphins assistant head coach/quarterbacks Jim Caldwell will provide an experienced quarterback tutor for Rosen to learn from. The former UCLA Bruin will have to beat out Ryan Fitzpatrick for snaps, but that seems as inevitable as Rosen's ascension to the starting lineup in Arizona a year ago.
The Dolphins will want to take a long look at Rosen this season to help them make an informed decision about how to proceed at the position in 2020, when they are loaded with draft picks (10, as of now). It's the type of year-to-year approach they should have been taking with Ryan Tannehill, who went 42-46 in his Miami career after being selected eighth overall in 2012, but that doesn't diminish Rosen's ability. I'd take Rosen over the No. 6 pick (Daniel Jones) and the No. 15 pick (Haskins) in this year's draft, and getting the deal done only cost Miami the No. 62 overall pick and a fifth-rounder.
The early days of the Brian Flores/Chris Grier era in Miami to this point were quiet, yet promising. Their acquisition of Rosen is the clearest sign yet the franchise may finally escape the soft middle of the NFL standings. It's just going to take time, something Rosen has yet to be afforded.
The Dolphins were my biggest winners on Friday, but they weren't the only ones. The rest of the Day 2 winners and losers are below.
Colts general manager Chris Ballard: It will be hard for Ballard to top his ridiculously productive 2018 draft, with which he landed two starting offensive linemen (Quenton Nelson and Braden Smith) and the Defensive Rookie of the Year (Darius Leonard), but he found great value again. After trading out of the first round, the Colts picked up the No. 1 corner on many lists, Temple's Rock Ya-Sin, with the 34th overall pick, a needed edge defender in TCU's Ben Banogu at 49th overall and an explosive playmaker in Ohio State wide receiver Parris Campbell at 59th overall. Mid-round picks are the lifeblood of an NFL team, and few teams have a better young group of players than the Colts.
The action on Friday night also completes the selections acquired in the 2018 trade down with the Jets, which included Smith.
Buffalo Bills: GM Brandon Beane has continued a strong offseason with great value during draft weekend. After Ed Oliver fell to the Bills at No. 9 overall, the team nabbed a first-round talent in offensive lineman Cody Ford with the No. 38 pick. Beane and coach Sean McDermott are slowly building a rugged roster with a consistent image. The addition of running back Devin Singletary with the No. 74 overall pick, meanwhile, could put LeSean McCoy's roster spot in jeopardy.
Please, let's avoid the overwrought conversation about what this means for Newton's future coming off shoulder surgery. The Patriots have spent four picks on quarterbacks taken higher than Grier in the Tom Brady era because quarterbacks, even backups, are that valuable. If Grier outplays his draft slot, he'll be a great extra asset to have.
Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks' value pickup of wide receiver D.K. Metcalf at the end of the second round (No. 64 overall), after a dizzying amount of trades, came with a caveat. ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported that Metcalf could be joining a wide receiver crew that doesn't include Doug Baldwin in 2019. The culmination of multiple surgeries could prevent Baldwin from playing again. GM John Schneider later confirmed retirement is a possibility being considered by Baldwin.
The Seahawks needed receiving help on the outside, and Metcalf is a far different style of receiver than Baldwin, who will be incredibly hard to replace. After using three of their first four picks on defense, there won't be any easy answers regarding how to add juice to Russell Wilson's supporting cast.
Joe Flacco, Broncos quarterback: The drafting of Lamar Jackson in Baltimore last season made Flacco understandably grouchy in Baltimore, where he'd been the starting quarterback since 2008. When asked earlier this month about the possibility of the Broncos (who traded for Flacco this offseason) drafting a quarterback high, Flacco sounded nonplussed.
"I want to get this team to be the best it is with me at the quarterback position. Obviously, that is not of most importance to draft a quarterback. But if we do, that's completely out of my control," Flacco said.
The Broncos traded up to the No. 42 pick to draft Missouri quarterback Drew Lock, GM John Elway's latest attempt to hit on a draft pick at quarterback. Lock has a big arm, not unlike Flacco, and could wind up getting a look in the starting lineup late in the 2019 season if Flacco can't keep the team above water.
Give Elway credit for creatively taking another swing at the position after missing on Brock Osweiler, Paxton Lynch and Case Keenum. Elway used assets picked up in Thursday's trade-down in the first round, in addition to the pick acquired for Demaryius Thomas, to ultimately nab Lock. At least Elway is trying to help out Flacco in the meantime, taking pass-catching tight end Noah Fant No. 20 overall and tackle Dalton Risner in the second round (No. 41).
Kyle Rudolph, Vikings tight end: Minnesota drafted Rudolph's replacement in Irv Smith Jr. with the 50th overall pick, spelling the end of Rudolph's time with the team. NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah indicated he's heard Rudolph's name on the trade market, so it's possible that time could come Saturday during Day 3 of the draft.