The Cardinals drafted Kyler Murray Thursday night. They traded away Josh Rosen Friday night.
The selection of Murray, the Oklahoma quarterback, with the first pick of the 2019 draft meant that they needed to move Rosen, the quarterback who had been their first-round pick of the 2018 draft. That came late in the second round, when he was sent to the Dolphins for a second-round choice – 62nd overall – and a 2020 fifth-round pick.
"We were very high on Josh Rosen and certainly we were fine to keep him," General Manager Steve Keim said. "I think there were a number of things that went into (trading him), a sliding scale. ... Our goal all along was to get four players (with the first round) in our top 50. Not only did we do that, we got four players in our top 35, which about as good as I have seen with us recently.
"All of us are big fans of Josh Rosen. We wish him well and I think he'll have a heck of a career in the NFL."
The Cards then took University of Massachusetts wide receiver Andy Isabella with the Dolphins’ choice.
It ends a brief 24-hour period of awkwardness on the Cards’ roster. Keim said Thursday night he wasn’t just going to give Rosen away. But it was clear the team wanted to make a deal. Keim said he didn't see it as Rosen not working out with the Cardinals.
"The bottom line is we had the opportunity to get a player we think can be special" in Murray, Keim said.
Keim said he never actively shopped Rosen in trade prior to the draft, but had conversations with multiple teams from the Scouting combine on the subject. "A team has to make a hard offer, and I always leave that door open," Keim added.
Isabella isn’t big, officially 5-foot-9 and 188 pounds. But he put up big numbers at UMass as a senior, with 102 catches for 1,698 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also can fly, posting a 4.31 40-yard dash at the Scouting combine and giving the Cardinals the speed as a deep threat.
The Cardinals know Isabella well; new Cardinals offensive quality control coach Spencer Whipple was the UMass passing game coordinator during Isabella’s college career and served as Isabella’s position coach through Isabella’s junior year.
“They were definitely on my radar,” Isabella said. “I didn’t think it was going to happen, but hey, I can’t wait to be a Cardinal."
Keim said Isabella "brings a different skillset we don't currently have, which is the footspeed and explosiveness to take the top off." Keim said Isabella, despite playing at a small school, was productive against the bigger programs he played against and showed well at the Senior Bowl.
Isabella said he expects to line up in the slot, and that during his Scouting combine meeting he got a chance to talk about Kliff Kingsbury’s offense with Kingsbury himself. Isabella also went to lunch with Cardinals receivers coach David Raih after UMass’ pro day.
Kingsbury said Isabella has the ability to play inside and outside. Some pundits connected Isabella with the Patriots given his stature, his college and even have compared him to Patriots star Julian Edelman.
“That’s a cool comparison,” Isabella said. “He’s probably going to be a Hall of Famer. That’s something I’d love to be, maybe.”
He brushed aside being part of the Rosen trade, saying “I’m just here to play.” Besides, his thoughts were on his new teammate and the Cardinals’ new quarterback, Kyler Murray.
“I was kind of star-struck, walking around with him at the combine,” Isabella said. “Never got to talk to him but I can’t wait to play with him.”