By Nick Shook
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INDIANAPOLIS — One day after his teammates defended him in speaking to reporters, Josh Rosen took the podium.
The main takeaway? He gets it, and he isn’t about to change for anyone.
“I’m not going to present a fake image of myself,” Rosen told reporters Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine. “… I think that you have to be yourself, you have to be authentic and you have to show you’ve learned and grown over the years. You have to own your mistakes. That’s what I’m trying to show.
“I’m trying to show who I really am, not who I’m trying to be because I want them to draft me. I don’t want them to draft someone they think they’re getting and not to get that guy. I think that’s also what your teammates want. Your teammates don’t want a fake shell of yourself. Teammates want you to be yourself every day so you’re that reliable rock that they can count on.”
Rosen has faced critical rumblings ranging from him supposedly being a bad teammate (a point firmly denied by UCLA teammate Scott Quessenberry on Thursday), to being a poor leader, to not being consumed by the game. Perhaps the most fair takeaway from such negativity is Rosen is misunderstood. His teammates agreed with the latter point Thursday.
What was quickly evident from his media availability session was how mature the quarterback who once had a hot tub installed in his dorm room has become during his time at UCLA. With each answer, Rosen took time to consider his thoughts before delivering a well-thought, thorough response. He bounced from anecdotes about his arm talent first becoming evident when he was tossing items out of his crib, to finding “every nook and cranny” to sneak in a nap during the combine (per advice from the Rams‘ Jared Goff), to the more difficult topics. Cleveland-based reporters hit him early with questions of his desire (or lack thereof) to play for the Browns, and he handled it gracefully. Others asked about how he handled external criticism — “You address it here … teams actually get to know me” — and with each, he was poised, calm and appeared wise beyond his years.
“I think it’s a collection of everything,” Rosen said when asked what teams focus on in evaluating prospects. “… Maybe if they think I’m a good player but not a good fit for their personality profile, I can respect that. A team is evaluating not just how good you are on a scale of 1-10, but how good of a fit you are for the team. I’m just trying to come out here and present who I am as a person and a player and do what I can to let them make the best decision on whether I would be the right guy to lead their franchise.”
Plenty of evaluation awaits Rosen and the rest of the class, including drills in Indianapolis and individual pro days, as well as formal interviews with prospective suitors. But on Friday, Rosen made a strong first step toward strengthening his case beyond his pure passing ability when surrounded by a sea of those spending plenty of time dissecting his every move.