UCLA’s Josh Rosen and USC’s Sam Darnold have long been considered to be two of the top quarterbacks who could be available in the 2018 NFL Draft. Darnold has been considered the better NFL prospect since the Trojans’ Rose Bowl victory over Penn State.
However, it is Rosen who appears to be moving up NFL draft boards due to his solid play for the Bruins, while Darnold has struggled for the Trojans.
On NFL.com’s weekly Year of the QB power rankings, Rosen rose to the No. 1 spot after his performance in UCLA’s 27-23 win over Colorado. Meanwhile, Darnold slipped to No. 5 in the rankings after his lackluster performance in USC’s 30-27 loss to Washington State.
Here is what the NFL.com draft experts had to say about Rosen’s performance:
“Rosen is back in the No. 1 spot after ceding it to Sam Darnold for the previous two weeks. He made some NFL throws on Saturday against Colorado [as well as one toss he’d like to have back — the INT] and helped the Bruins snap a two-game losing streak.”
And this is what they said about Darnold’s game against the Cougars:
“Darnold plummets to the lowest spot he’s held in these rankings. Overall, he didn’t play well vs. WSU, although he made an outstanding throw on fourth down late in the fourth quarter to keep USC alive. Injuries to the USC offensive line clearly took their toll on Darnold. His 164 yards are a career-low since he became the starter last season, and he lost a fumble to seal the loss to the Cougars in the final minutes. He should bounce back against an awful Oregon State defense, but for those who doubt him, the case against Darnold is getting stronger.”
While these are weekly power rankings and have no bearing on how NFL teams will perceive players as future prospects, it is worth noting that Rosen is outplaying Darnold so far this season.
Rosen is leading the best passing offense in the country and is ranked No. 1 in passing yards and touchdowns. Meanwhile, Darnold has thrown the most interceptions in the Pac-12, while attempting 14 fewer passes per game than Rosen.
It is not set in stone that either player will enter the 2018 NFL Draft. In fact, there have been rumblings that Darnold is seriously considering staying at USC next season. That being said, it is Rosen who is taking advantage of what may be his last season in college.
Of course, it’s still early and a couple great games could propel Darnold back up the draft boards.