Former UCLA head coach Jim Mora recruited Josh Rosen and had a front-row seat to his tenure as the Bruins' QB for the past three seasons. However, if Mora were advising the Cleveland Browns on whom to take with the first overall pick, he'd suggest they pass on Rosen for a QB against whom he used to coach.
"Because of fit, I would take Sam Darnold if I were the Cleveland Browns," Mora said. "I think [he has] that blue-collar, gritty attitude. I think his teammates will love him. I think the city will love him. He'll say the right things. He'll come in and represent well. I think he kind of represents what Cleveland is. And then if I was one of the New York teams, I'd take Josh like that. I think they're both going to be great pros."
Now, it's a little unusual to hear a coach not touting a former pupil to the maximum degree, at least in public, but Mora's analysis is in line with how the conventional wisdom has been to this point in the draft process. Darnold is widely viewed as the likely first overall pick and best fit for Cleveland. None of the most recent NFL.com mock drafts have Rosen coming off the board later than third overall to the Jets.
Rosen probably won't agree with his former coach on this one. He has said he's the best and most accurate QB in the draft. It's not as if Mora has turned on his former QB, though. He's consistently had high praise for Rosen, including on Monday, when he compared Darnold and Rosen to two of the all-time greats.
"I think some day hopefully we're talking about the Peyton Manning-Tom Brady debate. Which one's better? I think both of those guys can be those types of guys," Mora said during Monday's Total Access.
If Mora's anywhere close to correct on that projection, the teams that end up with Darnold and Rosen will be thrilled with their decisions.