Big Blue United

Josh Rosen’s No. 1 priority is battling narratives, and so far he’s losing

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Josh Rosen is officially headed to the NFL. The now-former UCLA quarterback announced his decision Wednesday night, tweeting a statement that said he will forgo his senior season and enter the draft, where he’s projected by many to be a top-five selection or possibly even the No. 1 pick.

“Over the last three years, UCLA has helped me grow as an athlete, a scholar, and a member of the community,” Rosen wrote. “I have made some mistakes along the way; however, I am grateful that I made those mistakes backed by such a supportive and positive university, so that I could learn from them and better myself. To the UCLA students, alumni, and fans, I appreciate all of your unwavering support.”

Like every draft prospect, Rosen now faces four months of poking, prodding, interviews, workouts and evaluations before the 2018 NFL Draft finally begins on April 26. But unlike other players, Rosen’s pre-draft process will revolve around shaking a perceived attitude of entitlement and ego that has followed him since high school.

And even though he didn’t play in the Cactus Bowl in December, his trip to Phoenix for the game was a week that proved how difficult rebuilding that image is going to be for Rosen.

Why are so many concerned about Rosen’s character?

Most, if not all, NFL teams would love it if every quarterback answered every question from the media by saying nothing at all. Not in a Marshawn Lynch “I’m just here so I won’t get fined” kind of way, but with generic statements like “We just have to play our game” and “I need to trust my reads and take what the defense gives me” that turn general managers into the heart eyes emoji.

The most adept and media savvy veterans, like Tom Brady and Drew Brees, can go an entire season without saying or doing anything provocative or even interesting outside of what happens on the field.

Rosen isn’t that quarterback and has never tried to be. During his time at UCLA, he:

He was labeled a spoiled rich kid before he ever took the field for the Bruins. He was the child of two Ivy League parents and a student at St. John Bosco High School — an affluent, private Catholic school in Southern California. He didn’t do much to sway those opinions.

As a highly regarded prospect in high school, he butted heads with former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer at the Nike Elite 11 camp, disagreeing with the Super Bowl-winner’s changes to the playbook given to quarterbacks at the beginning of camp.

“I like being challenged,” Dilfer said, via the Orange County Register. “I don’t mind that stuff. My bigger thing was he thinks he knows more than he knows.”

And so, regardless of any personal growth he’s made in the last three years, his comments are viewed through that frame.

The Cactus Bowl showed the challenges he’ll face

It was impossible not to be impressed with Rosen during the Cactus Bowl

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