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Wilks on Cardinals QBs: ‘Sam Bradford is our starter’

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Prior to last month’s draft, All Pro running back David Johnson predicted the Cardinals will boast the NFL’s top offense this season if Sam Bradford stays healthy.

Now that first-round draft pick Josh Rosen has arrived as Arizona’s quarterback of the future, though, it’s fair to wonder if Bradford will be under center when the season opens.

New coach Steve Wilks addressed the issue on Friday’s edition of Rookie Camp Live, telling NFL Network’s Omar Ruiz that Bradford is atop the depth chart but Rosen can win the job.

“We’re pushing everybody to start,” Wilks explained. “I’ve stated this several times: Sam Bradford is our starter. We gotta go out there with 11 guys and Sam’s going to be the first guy out there. But everybody’s fighting for a position, so I’m not going to hold [Rosen] back at all.

“I want guys competing, I want guys fighting for a starting job. Whoever ends up winning the position, that’s who’s going to end up playing.”

Although Bradford’s reputation has taken a hit via the incessant injury bug, he’s been one of the most accurate — and overlooked — quarterbacks in the league as an intermittent starter.

The Cardinals brought Bradford in to direct the offense, Wilks recently told The Adam Schefter Podcast, and he believes the former Vikings quarterback is “one of the best in the business right now.”

It’s natural for the head coach to stand behind the veteran in the draft’s aftermath. We see it every offseason. Over the past 10 years, though, 20 of 27 first-round quarterbacks have started at least eight games in their rookie seasons.

Alex Smith was the exception to the rule last year, holding off promising Patrick Mahomes while making a run at the MVP trophy.

As long as he doesn’t faceplant in preseason action, Bradford will enter the season as Arizona’s starter. How long he stays there is up to him — and his increasingly fragile body.

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