Steve Wilks: Josh Rosen starting in 2018 not long shot

Josh Rosen was lauded (sometimes in a backhanded fashion) as the draft's most pro-ready quarterback.

Logically, that should have made him the No. 1 pick. Who doesn't want the quarterback best suited to succeed early?

That's not how this works, as we've seen, and he ended up sliding to No. 10. That's where he was happily scooped up by the Arizona Cardinals, a team that had just given $20 million to Sam Bradford.

Which brings us to today's news, in this slow period of soundbytes which tend to become moot by September: Josh Rosen, starting quarterback in 2018 is not out of the realm of possibility.

"No, it's not (a longshot)," Cardinals coach Steve Wilks said, per the team's official site. "I talked about it from day one -- the best 11 are going to play. Sam (Bradford) is the starter, and when he's healthy, he's great. But everybody is competing to be out there on the field. Competition is a great thing. It makes us all better."

That bit about "when he's healthy" is worth a bookmark and second look two months from now. But what's more important is Wilks' willingness to look past a one-year contractual commitment in order to increase his team's chances for immediate success.

We can't guarantee Rosen will provide such a boost; that's for the team to determine in OTAs and training camp. But the whole bench-riding-to-learn deal never really seemed fit for an intellectual like Rosen, who started as a freshman at UCLA and has been presented as a guy who asks "why" instead of silently nodding when instructed.

For some, that might not work. For Wilks, that might be the key to the future at the position, which had failed them for quite some time before the arrival of Carson Palmer. There's no need to delay that process if it's evident it will take place upon insertion into the starting lineup.

After all, with Bradford on a slow path to returning to full strength, Rosen will continue to get more reps than your average rookie.

"This guy is extremely smart," Wilks said of Rosen. "I mean, his ability to see certain things from the defense, and pick it up quickly, and execute ... I don't want to say this, but he has the mindset of a vet. The way he sees the game.

"He's not playing like a vet. Make sure you guys understand that. He's still a rookie, OK? But he sees things, like I said before, through a different lens. And he picks it up quickly."

Credit Wilks for properly tightroping the situation: He ensured Bradford is the starter, but included the ever-important point of his health. He's talking himself into an easy path to Rosen, should Bradford not perform up to standard, no matter the reason. The rookie head coach evidently knows talent when he sees it, and might prove to be unafraid to take a perceived risk when he feels it's best for the franchise.

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