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Arizona Cardinals draft pick Josh Rosen is not the jerk everyone thinks he is

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There seems to be a striking difference between the person Josh Rosen is made out to be and who he actually is.

NFL: Combine Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

INDIANAPOLIS — Josh Rosen had about 15 minutes with the media at the NFL Combine on Friday, just like every other player who received an invite, but it mattered more for the UCLA quarterback than most.

Rosen’s character and personality have been dissected even more than his play on the field in the months since the 2017 season ended, so the 15 minutes were an opportunity to dispel the notion that he’s entitled, cocky and ... well ... an asshole.

He passed that test Friday with flying colors.

Rosen was thoughtful, well-spoken, and honest as he answered questions from reporters. It may have been surprising to those who have heard the stories of a quarterback who will come with baggage and attitude concerns.

But he was the person who everyone who has interviewed Rosen in the past or been around him has insisted he’s been all along.

“I think that you have to be yourself, you have to be authentic and you have to show that you’ve learned and grown over the years,” Rosen said. “I’m trying to show who I really am, not who I’m trying to be. I want them to draft me. I don’t want them to draft someone they think they’re getting and then not get that guy. I think that’s also what your teammates want. Your teammates don’t want a fake shell of yourself.”

Battling the narratives is nothing new for Rosen and still his top priority in the weeks between the NFL Combine and the draft. But so far, his trip to Indianapolis has gone a long way toward tearing them down.

There were rumors that his college teammates didn’t like him and that he’s difficult to get along with.

“It drives me insane,” UCLA offensive lineman Scott Quessenberry said Thursday. “I have a really good relationship with Josh, and I think he’ll tell you the same thing about me and we talk, and for him to get the rap that he gets, it’s BS because of the type of guy that he is and the type of stand up human being that he is and the type of pro that he’s going to be. He’s a great dude, I love hanging around him and being with him, and whoever gets him is extremely lucky. They’re getting a once in a millennium talent in my opinion.”

There was an ESPN report that he wouldn’t like to be picked by the Cleveland Browns in April, which only fueled belief that he’s entitled.

“To that report, I don’t really know anything about Cleveland,” Rosen said. “I’ve never been there. Haven’t really talked to their coaching staff yet. I have a meeting with them tonight. So it’s impossible to formulate opinions when you haven’t really done any research on the actual place. I’m probably going to visit there, hang out with them, and whoever picks me, I’ll be excited to play for whoever wants to.”

There’s a widespread belief that he thinks he’s smarter than everyone. Ok, that one probably didn’t go anywhere — especially given his impressive answers to a few questions.

“I think if you can get three or four reads into your progression, you give yourself more opportunities down the field. If you’re a one-two-and-run guy and you throw the ball 40 times a game — in the NFL 30 times a game — you’re giving yourself 70-80 opportunities to get the ball down the field. If you can get into 1, 2, 3 and 4, you’re giving yourself 150-160 — twice as many opportunities to get the ball down the field. That’s what I think my best attribute is. I can sit in the pocket and really pick defenses apart.”

How about them apples?

If “Rosen is too smart” is the biggest problem he has to contend with after the Combine, he’s in good shape.

Of course, it’s not the media but NFL teams that he ultimately has to convince. But Friday was a good indication that he should do just fine.