After crying out for it on last week’s On The Radar, it has happened: Josh Rosen has been named the starting quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals.
With that decision, four of the five signal callers taken in the first round this year are now starting (and it’s only week four!). This is the right decision by those franchises, even they came after some speed bumps along the way. More on that in just a bit.
It’s week five of the college football season and I’m finally hitting the road for some scouting. The first stop for me is TCU, who will be hosting Iowa State. This is one of six games I’ll be attending this year, making the Scouting On The Road portion a staple going forward.
As always, I’ll close things out with what I’m hearing around the league and in the scouting community.
A New NFL Quarterback Era Is Underway
Nathan Peterman was sold as a real life starting quarterback in the year 2018. Baker Mayfield was never given a chance to win the starting quarterback job in Cleveland. Josh Rosen wasn’t called upon until Arizona needed a two minute, game saving, full-field drive.
These were the speed bumps crossed before getting to this point, but a new NFL quarterback era is underway.
After a summer where Sam Darnold was the only rookie named a week one starting signal caller, things have changed quickly. Lamar Jackson will have to wait his turn in Baltimore, but the other four first round rookie quarterbacks are going to get a ton of NFL action.
This is a good trend in the NFL. Neither of these four teams are expected playoff contenders this season. Ironically, the Browns might be the most talented roster of the bunch.
There’s no pressure on these quarterbacks to finish atop the division standings. The goal is to play, develop and grow. While sitting and learning can help, there is nothing more vital than actual game reps.
The turnovers are going to come for each as are the losses at times. With that being said there’s a new wave ready to take over the NFL and Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Josh Rosen expect to lead the charge.
Scouting On The Road: Iowa State at TCU
This weekend I’ll be on the road for the first time this season, one of six college games I’ll be attending. That first stop is Fort Worth, Texas for TCU vs. Iowa State. Here’s who I’ll have my eye on heading into the match up:
David Montgomery, RB, Iowa State
In a running back class that is relatively underwhelming, Montgomery has stood out thanks to the power and balance he runs with. His stats aren’t going to ‘wow’ you, but the film is impressive.
With Oklahoma’s Rodney Anderson losing his season to injury, Montgomery could very well be the first running back off the board next Spring. While I don’t expect that to be in the first round, plenty of stellar NFL running backs have broken out after being taken on day two or three.
JaQuan Bailey, EDGE, Iowa State
The junior pass rusher had a slow start to the season, but he turned it on last week registering seven tackles, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble against Akron. He’ll look to keep that momentum going against the Horned Frogs.
Ben Banogu, EDGE, TCU
Banogu, much like Bailey, is coming off a big week. The difference is his performance was against Texas, a much tougher program than Akron.
The senior pass rusher won’t find himself in the same conversation as Nick Bosa, Clelin Ferrell or even Brian Burns, but he could very well be drafted in the top four rounds. A big season would give him momentum going into the draft process, especially if he can secure a a Senior Bowl invite.
Four games into the season he has 2.5 sacks with a forced fumble.
Darius Anderson, RB, TCU
Anderson couldn’t get anything going against the Long Horns last week, but his 93 yard touchdown against Ohio State this season showed everyone the kind of threat he can be. With good vision and acceleration, the TCU running back is a threat to break one on any play.
Ty Summers, LB, TCU
Summers, much like Banogu, is trying to gain momentum during his final college season as he heads towards the draft process. He racked up a combined 19 starts between his sophomore and junior year, displaying high end pursuit ability and above average pre-snap IQ.
While not a playmaker by any means, Summers is a reliable player in the TCU front seven that certainly has an NFL future.
The Buzz: Bell Trade Complicated, But Becoming Real
The Le’Veon Bell vs. the Steelers situation has nearly come to the point of no return. When narrowed down to that it’s quite simple: Pittsburgh is offering a lot of money when factoring in the market, but Bell understandably feels he’s a star player that deserves more.
Negotiations had gotten extremely close to a resolution this Summer, but the ink was never put to paper. As a result, Bell is holding his ground and not returning to the team any time soon. So what do the Steelers do?
After talking to multiple league sources, Pittsburgh has been active in finding a way to move him. They want this saga to end and might even be willing to take low compensation to make that happen. That return would be a day two pick, which is what they would most likely receive as a 2020 compensatory selection (third rounder) if they simply let Bell walk in free agency.
There are a few issues at hand though, with the first being the extension deadline for franchise players has passed. This means the team acquiring Bell is taking the risk of him simply being a rental. As much as the New York Jets have been connected to Bell quite often over the last year, this makes for an extremely doubtful pairing.
Speaking of that one-year rental, he can still negotiate his salary for the remainder of the season, meaning his new team will have to pay up this year. Cap space isn’t exactly abundant around the league this time of year.
It’s a catch-22 because contending teams fit as he’s a potential rental, while a lot of rebuilding teams have the cap space to make it work. Money can always be moved around on the cap, but it obviously further complicates the deal.
Trade partners have been limited as the league becomes aware of his representation’s demands, which are sky high. For as talented as he is, a running back with a history of suspensions and injury has a majority of teams cautious when guaranteeing high end, long-term dollars.
With all of that being said if I had to make a dark horse pick to land Bell, I’m going with the Green Bay Packers. Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams are a solid tandem, but Bell could take that offense to the very top. It’s certainly not the type of move we’re used to the Packers making in the recent past, but this is Brian Gutekunst’s show now. A winning culture like Green Bay’s is a great fit for Bell, making this an ideal fit for each party.
It’s been a long saga in Pittsburgh but know this: they are ready for it to end. It’s a complicated trade, but far from unrealistic.