Quarterback Josh Rosen has become the first Jewish man to be picked in the first round of the NFL draft for more than 30 years, after being selected tenth overall by the Arizona Cardinals.
The 21-year-old, who played college football at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), has been the subject of media speculation that he is too “intellectual” or “affluent” for the NFL, leading to accusations of dog-whistle antisemitism.
Rosen, born in Manhattan Beach, California, was considered one of the most promising young players in the US, having broken his university’s single-season record for passing yards last year.
After the draft Rosen told reporters he was disappointed not to have been selected with any of the top three picks, although he said he was “happy and motivated” to join the Arizona Cardinals.
He said: “I thought I should’ve been picked at 1, 2 or 3. I dropped and I was pissed. I was really, really angry. I wasn’t really showing it.
“I thought I was going to have to put on a face and try and fake happiness. But for some reason, right when I got that call, that’s not what happened. I got really happy and really motivated.”
Rosen, born to a Jewish father and Quaker mother, has said he identifies as Jewish, and has had a Bar Mitzvah.
In 2016 he told the media that he chose to play at UCLA because Los Angeles “did not have any (Jewish) professional athletes” and that the city’s Jewish community “really want someone to look up to”.
The last Jewish player to be picked in the first round of the NFL draft was offensive tackle Harris Barton, who was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers 22nd overall in 1987.
Rosen will join the Cardinals, who play in Glendale, Arizona, for the 2018 training camps ahead of the regular season.