Josh Rosen has always had to prove himself. Whether it was coming out of high school or college, the Manhattan Beach, Calif., native has had to dispel his doubters.
He doesn’t mind. He has thrived at doing so.
Rosen was fourth quarterback selected in the first round, dropping to No. 10 where he was selected by the Arizona Cardinals, who traded up to get him.
If you know Rosen, he’s going to relish the challenge of proving himself again.
“I don’t care, I just want to go to a team,” Rosen told the NFL Network in a lengthy answer about how important it is to be the first quarterback drafted. “I’m not paying attention to all that stuff very much. I’ve always been the No. 2 guy.”
Rosen was a three-year starter at UCLA, where he completed 60.9 percent of his passes for 9,340 yards with 59 touchdowns and 26 interceptions. In his junior year, Rosen set career highs in touchdowns (26) and passing yards (3,756).
But when Rosen declared for this draft all sorts of negatives were presented about him.
He didn’t like football.
He’s doing it for the money.
He’s too opinionated.
He’s not durable enough.
Rosen is used to people doubting him because it started in high school when, in his senior year, he was the Los Angeles Times High School Player of the Year.
“Coming out of high school, Ricky Town was the dude . . . he was going to USC, I was going to UCLA,” Rosen said. “He was No. 1 in the country and I was No. 2 and he was going to bring USC back to the promised land.
“After Ricky, kind of faded away a little bit, Blake Barnett was the Elite 11 MVP . . . the dude that was going to [Alabama] and win a couple of championships and call it quits and go to the league as the No. 1 overall pick. You really don’t hear about him too much.”
Think Rosen is playing with a chip?
“Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield . . . these dudes who are these exotic, cool-like, flashy quarterbacks,” Rosen said. “That No. 1 pick stuff, and I’m No. 2, and I’m going to sit here in a couple of years when it’s all said and done. I’m confident I’ll still be standing.”
Many observers believe Rosen is probably the quarterback most ready to play in the NFL coming out of the draft. He has a strong arm, steps up in the pocket when pressured and has dealt with the national spotlight for years.
At the NFL Combine in Indianapolis in March, Rosen came across as a professional with clear, concise answers that had several reporters comparing his temparement to Eli Manning.
He seemed like a natural for any team looking for someone ready to play immediately. But as it always seems to be with Rosen, there are doubters. His coach at UCLA, Jim Mora Jr., said Rosen didn’t fit the blue-collar nature of Cleveland, the team which owned the first pick.
“He needs to be challenged intellectually so he doesn’t get bored,” Mora told Sports Illustrated. “He’s a millennial. He wants to know ‘why.’ Millennials, once they know why, they’re good. Josh has a lot of interest in life. If you can hold his concentration level and focus only on football for a few years, he will set the world on fire.”