The biggest factor of the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, which begins Thursday night, isn’t even a collegiate prospect that’s ready to make the jump to the pros.
It’s second-year quarterback Josh Rosen.
The future of the Arizona Cardinals passer — who was selected 10th-overall last season — is in the hands of his new head coach in Kliff Kingsbury, who has been predicted by many to take Oklahoma product and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray with the first-overall pick.
Should the Cardinals go that route, it is expected that Rosen will be traded within the first two days of the draft and could play a huge role in what the New York Giants do at No. 6.
Giants general manager Dave Gettleman has had months to put together a plan to find Eli Manning’s successor, which was initially believed to be via the draft this year.
While there are still plenty of detractors claiming that choosing Saquon Barkley with the second pick last year was the wrong move considering the deep class of passers available, the organization still has an opportunity in 2019 to choose their talent to mold into the next franchise quarterback.
Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins, Missouri’s Drew Lock, and Duke’s Daniel Jones are expected to be available at No. 6 for the Giants. Haskins is considered the best pure passer in the draft class and has stated his desire to play for the Giants, his boyhood team growing up in New Jersey.
Lock remains an option, but the notion of Jones being selected by the Giants has picked up some steam as of late even though notable draft pundits like Todd McShay have predicted that the Duke product will develop into nothing more than a back-up at the NFL level.
Also owning the No. 17 pick of the draft after trading away Odell Beckham Jr., the Giants could select an edge rusher like Kentucky’s Josh Allen with the sixth pick, even though it would result in losing out on Haskins.
It seems to be the most likely scenario as McShay reported on ESPN’s ‘Get Up’ on Monday morning that Gettleman “is crazed about getting a pass-rusher with this sixth pick.”
That second pick in the first round would then be used to take the best available quarterback, whether it is Lock or Jones.
The possible availability of Rosen though would likely see the Giants abandon any thought of taking a quarterback and could result in the team drafting for another area of need, whether it be at wide receiver, cornerback, or offensive line.
At just 22 years old, Rosen could then redshirt the 2019 season while learning and perfecting the Giants offense under Manning, who is entering the final season of his contract with New York.
It would allow the UCLA product to properly acclimate to the NFL, which was something he was unable to do during his rookie season in Arizona.
Behind one of the worst offensive lines in football with subpar playmaking talent outside of Larry Fitzgerald, Rosen struggled mightily in 2018, completing just 55.2-percent of his passes for 2,278 yards with 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.
If put behind a stronger offensive line with a better set of receivers, Rosen could flourish in New York and meet those high expectations that were set on him prior to the 2018 draft.