Jim Mora understands the value of fit in an NFL system, leading him to say the Browns should draft Sam Darnold over his former pupil at UCLA, Josh Rosen.
Let’s preface this by saying Jim Mora is not throwing Josh Rosen under the bus at all when he said he thinks the Browns should take USC quarterback Sam Darnold over the quarterback he recruited and coached for three years at UCLA.
Mora repeatedly said he thinks they will both be great pros. In fact, in December in an interview on Undisputed, he went as far as to say he thinks Rosen will be the better of the two because he’s a pure passer. In that same interview on Undisputed, he broke down both quarterbacks and the offenses that will best suit them.
[Rosen’s] got a motion that you would love to see in your minicamp, I mean it’s just pure and its 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. You know, and he can improvise, he can make things happen on the move. They’re gonna play in 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 …to kind of slip and slide around in the pocket and find the window, and then he can get it there on time.
Given this view, we can better understand why Mora said on NFL Network’s Path to the Draft why he thinks the Browns should take Darnold over Rosen, who because of fit. Starting with their offensive line. The Browns have spent years assembling a great offensive line, which means more time to throw the ball. Darnold’s ability to move and run will allow him to maximize the offensive line itself. We’ve seen it for years with Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay where he sits behind the line, and scrambles and makes something happen on the move when he needs to make a play.
Then we can talk about the sheer athleticism on the Browns offense right now. Between Jarvis Landry, Josh “Flash” Gordon, David Njoku and Duke Johnson, they are quick. This quickness means that even if they aren’t open initially, they can separate while Darnold is moving and he can make the throw on the run. Landry was tied for 16th in average separation last year and as long as he can stay open, Darnold can move until he sees him.
This mobility also means a better ability to roll out in play action. The Browns recently signed running back Carlos Hyde and have still been linked to Saquon Barkley with the fourth overall pick. The ability to run the football means the Browns will be able to use a lot of play action.
The other big acquisition the Browns made this offseason was quarterback Tyrod Taylor. The former Bills starter has been a quality mobile quarterback since getting the starting gig in Buffalo. He can help Darnold understand how to protect himself and the football. Taylor has played 14-plus games each of the last three years so he knows how a mobile quarterback can prevent injuries. Also, a big criticism of Darnold is that he threw too many interceptions last year at USC and ball security was a big concern. Taylor is one of the best at not turning the ball over and can help Darnold with that.
Mentally, the Browns may not succeed at first. They haven’t tasted success in years, why would they now? For this, you need a quarterback who is going to get back in the film room with the same energy every day, and that’s Darnold. No matter what is happening, he will keep working to get better and make the team better.
Mora clearly thinks that both will be great pros, even saying they could end up with a “Peyton Manning-Tom Brady debate.” However, he thinks the best situation for the Browns and Darnold is a pairing of the two.