UCLA Football: Is Josh Rosen the best QB in the Pac-12?

PASADENA, CA - OCTOBER 01: Josh Rosen /

Josh Rosen has been an enigma in his first two seasons behind center for UCLA Football. With the emergence of USC’s Sam Darnold last season, Rosen has competition for the title of best QB in the Pac-12 as well as best QB in his own city. Who is the best QB in LA?

Josh Rosen began his UCLA Football career with more hype than any Bruin has received in recent memory. So much hype that some Bruin fans (including myself at some points) couldn’t wait for Brett Hundley to leave for the NFL so Rosen could take the reigns of what was, at the time, a high powered Bruin offense.

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He instantly delivered in his true freshman season, completing 60% of his passes and throwing for 3,669 yards and 23 touchdowns.

Fast forward two seasons and Rosen has a lot more question marks than he did after his true freshman campaign. Rosen is coming off a season in which he looked off during the first half of the year before he missed the final six games with a shoulder injury. Not to mention, he now is playing under his third offensive coordinator in three seasons under center. After all of this, Rosen may not even be the best QB in his own city.

Across town, enter Sam Darnold. USC’s golden boy QB began last year, his redshirt freshman season, as the backup to Max Browne (who has since transferred to Pittsburgh) before becoming the starter after a 1-2 start for the Trojans.

After losing his first start at Utah, Darnold dazzled as the Trojans ran the table and won the Rose Bowl in a 52-49 thriller against Penn State. Darnold put up impressive stats throwing for over 3,000 yards and 31 touchdowns against just nine interceptions. All of the signs point to Darnold being the better QB in LA, though it is not all just about numbers.

As much as it pains me to say it, Darnold clearly has the better team, at least last season. Last year, Darnold was blessed with big time Wide Receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster who was a second round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He also had two NFL offensive linemen in Chad Wheeler and Zach Banner. It will be interesting to see how Darnold plays in 2017-18 with the losses of these players.

Rosen and Darnold seem very similar talent-wise. Both have incredible arms and amazing upside. Both project to be the top QB’s taken in next years NFL Draft. One discernable difference between the two is that Darnold seems to be much more in control than Rosen does at times.

Rosen has incredible arm talent and he knows it, which tends to get him in trouble at times. Rosen has a tendency to try to force throws into small windows and throws across his body on the run far too often.

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If Rosen learns to just throw the ball away, or even take a sack, he should be able to reclaim his crown as best QB in LA. If not, the current trend will continue and Darnold will be the best QB in the City of Angels next season.