Darnold vs. Rosen: The Mismatch of the Century

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Tyler has been hyping up the USC-UCLA rivalry going into the fall, which I appreciate as a current USC senior. But the other day, he went as far as predicting that Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen could be the top-two quarterbacks in the upcoming NFL Draft, which I have a problem with.

Unsurprisingly, it’s not with the Darnold bit: I may be biased, but believe the hype when it comes to Sammy D. Watch him pick apart Washington’s defense here. The Huskies were ranked 12th in the nation in total defense last year, and Darnold managed to hang 300 total yards and two touchdowns on them. He got picked twice, but one came after Darreus Rogers slipped on a slant route. His overall numbers speak for themselves.

Rosen has some impressive tape, too. It just happens to pale in comparison to Darnold’s. The Bruin signal-caller threw for 350 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions against Arizona one week before he got injured at Arizona State last year. But then Darnold rode into Tucson, and he promptly torched the Wildcats for 235 passing yards, 54 rushing yards, and five touchdowns through the air.

Rosen’s biggest college win so far probably came at Utah in 2015, when he beat the No. 13 Utes to set up a showdown against USC for the Pac-12 South title. Rosen threw for 220 yards—completing 50 percent of his passes—with one touchdown and no picks. That’s pretty good, especially on the road in Salt Lake City.

But then think about the fact that Darnold went to Utah and racked up 294 total yards (one rushing TD) while avoiding an interception and completing 69.2 percent of his passes … in his first career start.

I could keep listing examples, but this is what it boils down to: If Rosen is No. 2 behind Darnold in the upcoming quarterback class, it’s more like how the Rockies are No. 2 behind the Dodgers in the NL West. In name, sure, but we’re really talking about two distinct tiers here (sorry, Young). Darnold has racked up 3,086 yards and a 31:9 TD/INT ratio in three-quarters of a season; Rosen has 5,585 yards and a 33:16 ratio over a season and a half. Who do you think is better?

And perhaps most importantly, Darnold has played in a Rose Bowl and won. Rosen plays in the Rose Bowl and hasn’t won shit—not even the Foster Farms Bowl. Oh yeah, and USC kicked the shit out of him with the division title on the line.

Doesn’t Cody Kessler look Heisman-worthy in comparison? I might bet on Jared Goff before I bet on Josh Rosen … and I wouldn’t bet on Goff.

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