One of the best rivalries in college football will be renewed on Saturday when the UCLA Bruins make the trip across town to take on the USC Trojans. This game will feature arguably the top 2 quarterback prospects in the country. This season has produced some ups and downs for Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen, but they are both still highly regarded in NFL circles.
I reached out to five NFL executives to see which of the two passers they believe will be the better pro player. Here are their answers.
Executive 1: Sam Darnold
"Both are talented passers and both are tough. Rosen is tougher than he is given credit for. Sam just has a little more savvy and feel for the position to me. (Darnold has) more ability to make a crazy, improbable kind of play than Josh, while still being a highly skilled passer. (I) like both of them, but I'd take Sam if in position to choose one."
Executive 2: Darnold
"Darnold. He's stronger, he's a better athlete, better mobility and he's a better playmaker with his arm and legs. He has more 'it' factor."
Executive 3: Darnold
"I'll take Darnold. Rosen's likely a better natural talent, but Sam just has that 'it' factor that can be so hard to find and quantify."
Executive 4: Darnold
"I love Darnold. He's got poise, toughness and grit. When it's time to step up and make things happen, he gets it done. The kid's a winner, too. That matters."
Executive 5: Darnold
"They are both going to be good. Rosen is more polished and a finished product now, but I'm a Darnold guy. He (has) 'it'."
Summary: It's a sweep. Darnold received all 5 votes.
Conclusion: It's rare to get a unanimous result with these weekly Ask 5 questions. However, all five of these executives prefer Darnold over Rosen at the moment. I thought it was interesting that three of the executives mentioned the "it" factor. I hear that a lot when discussing Darnold and I agree with their assessment of him. He has a special quality that's hard to define. He's clutch and thrives in chaotic moments. I think Rosen is a more refined passer, but Darnold would get my vote right now.