If former UCLA coach Jim Mora were in charge of the Browns, he wouldn’t take the quarterback he coached with the first pick in the draft.
Appearing Monday on NFL Network, Mora said he thinks former USC quarterback Darnold is a better fit for Cleveland, while UCLA’s Josh Rosen is better suited for New York.
“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.”
In an interview on Fox Sports’ Undisputed in December, before the draft order was set, Mora offered a different take. He repeated the same platitudes about Darnold’s work ethic but said he believes Rosen is a better passer and therefore the better draft pick.
“I think they're both me great pros, first of all,” Mora said. “Totally different styles of play, but I'm going to go with Josh, because he's a pure passer. He’s got a motion that you would love to see in your mini camp. I mean it’s just pure, and it's clean, and he can make every throw. He can throw with velocity, he can throw with touch.
“But I love Darnold because he’s a gym rat. And he can he can improvise. He can make things happen on the move. They’re going to play different style of offenses. I think Darnold gives you a little bit more running ability, a little bit more mobility in the pocket.
“But Josh has that way, like all the great ones, and the guys you played with, that kind of slip and slide around in the pocket, and find the window, and then they can get it there on time. They’re both going to be great, but I mean, you know, Josh is one of my guys, I got to go with him.”
Rosen has been labeled by some evaluators as having an attitude problem because of his tendency to say what is on his mind instead of parroting what he learned in media training.
“When you express opinions, you create perceptions. You create controversy,” Mora told the Dan Patrick Show in August. “There are those that agree with you and those who don’t agree with you, and you have to be willing to deal with the consequences.”
Right or wrong, that’s certainly something NFL teams think about when choosing who is going to be the face of their franchise.