Culver City Observer -

By Steve Finley
Sports Reporter 

Local College Players Featured in NFL Draft


April 26, 2018

For the first time in many years UCLA and USC will have two players taken in the top two or three spots in the National Football League draft today (Thursday). USC’s Sam Darnold and UCLA’s Josh Rosen are two of the top quarterbacks in the draft.

No one can predict what the teams will do, but if the draft experts are correct, Darnold will be the No. 1 pick, and will go to the Cleveland Browns. The Browns need a franchise quarterback who is smart, durable, and can lead them out of cellar. The Browns have been one of the worst NFL teams for a long time. Darnold may be the answer to their problems.

At USC, Darnold made some mistakes, but he showed he can beat you with his arm and feet. In the 2017 Rose Bowl against Penn State, he made some of the most spectacular plays ever seen on a college football field. Can he do that in the NFL? Only time will tell.

Rosen is scheduled to go to the New York Giants at No. 2, or to the New York Jets at No. 3. The problem with Rosen is he may be too smart for his own good. He has made several mistakes on social media, and on campus at UCLA, that have made him a target.

His critics say that because he comes from well-to-do family (his father is a doctor), he may not have the motivation to be a great NFL quarterback. No one questions his skill level. He was the best NFL ready signal caller three years ago when he threw is first pass for UCLA in the Rose Bowl. The pass was a 50 yard bomb that was right on the money, but the receiver dropped the ball.

That leads into the problems he had at UCLA. His receivers dropped a lot of passes and his offensive line failed to protect him. He got hit more times than an opponent in a Ali fight. All signs point to Rosen succeeding in the NFL if his receivers hold on to the ball, and if his offensive line protects him.

Another local college player from USC is scheduled to be picked in the first two rounds. Running back Ronald Jones II could go in the first round. Jones has the combination of speed, power and moves that NFL teams like. As a freshman he ran for 987 yards. His sophomore season he gained 1,082 yards and as a junior he ran for 1,557 yards.

The draft will take place at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas beginning at 5 p.m. Rounds 2-3 will be Friday and rounds 4-7 will take place on Saturday. The draft will be televised on Channel 11, ESPN, ESPN2 and the NFL Channel.


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