The Cardinals recently signed Sam Bradford to a one-year, $20 million deal. It was a risky move since Bradford is coming off a year of injury and only played two games for the Minnesota Vikings last season. We’ll have to base Bradford’s future performances on his 2016 season with Minnesota, since it’s the best we have to pull from. However, it is worth mentioning his one and only full start for the Vikings last year was one of the best games by a quarterback all season: Completing over 84-percent of his passes, throwing for 346 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.
It’s hard to predict what Bradford would have been able to do if he had finished his 2017 season with his health intact. In 2016, he threw for 3877 yards, 20 touchdowns and only five interceptions, while completing 71.6% of his passes. Additionally, his ANY/A of 6.41 was good for 14th in the league, despite being sacked the fourth most times. It’s impressive considering he’s not necessarily considered an “elite quarterback” but his yards per game of 258.5 was extremely close to Russell Wilson’s 263.7 Y/G in 2016.
Josh Rosen’s college stats in 11 games are just as impressive, though. He threw for 3756 yards in his senior year at UCLA and averaged about 8.3 Y/A. Rosen may have fallen a bit in the draft, but most still consider him the most NFL ready quarterback of his class.
Instead of pressure breaking him down, he’s able to come up with big plays at the right moments. According to his scouting report, Rosen completed 63% of his passes when being blitzed, which, if he’s the starter for Arizona next season, could give the Seahawks’ pass rush problems. Just look at what he was able to do for UCLA to come back from 44-10 down to win against Texas A&M:
COMEBACK OF THE YEAR— UCLA Recruiting (@UCLA_Recruiting) December 31, 2017
September 3, 2017
Texas A&M @ UCLA
"The Legend of Josh Rosen" pic.twitter.com/inuPaSuVhy
First-year head coach Steve Wilks has a lot of faith in his draft pick. Bradford is a solid short term option but Wilks wants someone the Cardinals can start to build a future around.
“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.”
Wilks has also made it clear that he’s having everyone at camp compete for their spots. So if Rosen manages to outshine Bradford, it’s likely that he could bump the veteran QB as a starter. We’ve all seen what a healthy Bradford can do:
Then of course there’s the forgotten QB of this Cardinals competition, Mike Glennon. Cut by the Chicago Bears in the spring, he was signed by the Cardinals to a two-year, $8 million contract. I don’t see Glennon becoming a huge factor in this competition, but I suppose you can’t rule anything out. He didn’t do much on the Bears last season, starting only four games with not much to show for it, before being benched for Mitchell Trubisky.
Glennon was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers starter back in 2013, and averaged about the same Y/G (200) with Chicago as that he did with the Bucs. So if there’s one positive to take away from Glennon’s play, it’s that he was able to produce more last season with far less time on the field.
Arizona’s QB competition is really just a matter of whether Bradford can sustain the high-level of play we’ve seen in glimpses, throughout an entire year. If he manages to again injure himself at the start of the season, we’re going to see Rosen either way. If we look at 2016, Bradford fell right in the middle as far as QB rankings go. He ranked 17th overall in DVOA and 16th overall in DYAR out of the 34 players ranked that year. Though maybe he’s not considered one of the elite QBs out there, he’s more than capable of getting the job done.
And while Wilks says as of now Bradford is their starter, part of me thinks that maybe he’s already made up his mind on who he’d really like to see out on that field come Week 1.