Josh Rosen vs. Ricky Town: Which 5-Star QB Is Better?
Josh Rosen and Ricky Town are two 5-star quarterbacks who both hail from California. The pair of Golden State passers are destined to be linked for quite some time, as Rosen is committed to UCLA, while Town is headed to USC.
Both are talented prospects who can argue they are the best quarterback in the country. However, it's time to settle the debate of who is the better prospect between the two.
Buckle up tightly, because this ride could get interesting.
Size and Frame
At 6'4" and 205 pounds, Rosen has a tall frame with good definition in his arms. He's steadily added mass since his junior season and still has a lot of room to get bigger. He could leave UCLA weighing more than 220 pounds.
Like Rosen, Town is 6'4" and 205 pounds. He doesn't have as much definition in his arms as Rosen, but Town has a tall frame that will pack on more weight when he gets to college. Weighing 225 pounds as an upperclassman at USC is not out of the question for Town.
Pocket Mechanics and Delivery
A large portion of Rosen's tape shows him working from shotgun, but he's capable of dropping back with good quickness from center. Rosen is consistent with his mechanics, as he sets up quickly with good balance while holding the ball chest-high. He gets good velocity on his throws by transferring his weight through his hips when throwing after getting in solid positioning with his left shoulder pointing to his target. His delivery isn't long by any means, but there have been quarterbacks with a quicker release than Rosen.
Town has good mechanics, yet he can work too controlled and robotic at times. However, he drives away from center with above-average quickness, and he's always in sync with his lower half. He stays balanced in his setup—with the ball chest-high—and seems to understand how important it is to have good mechanics and footwork to complete passes. His release is tight, compact and quick, and Town can shoot the ball out in hurry after he makes a decision.
Rosen has a powerful right arm that can attack any part of the field with ease. He drives the ball well with authority and can generate good velocity on his throws. Fitting the ball into tight windows and attacking deep or outside the hashes in college will not be an issue for Rosen.
Town has classic above-average arm strength. He's not a Jugs machine, but he's capable of making every throw a quarterback needs to make. Town can drive throws with velocity in the intermediate passing game, and he can threaten safeties and cornerbacks deep with his arm.
Accuracy and Anticipation
The consistency with his mechanics helps Rosen accurately throw the football to targets on all levels of the field. He can hit a running back in stride on a swing, lead receivers well on deep-ins and keep the ball away from defenders on deep-outs. For as strong of an arm as Rosen has, he can also pitch with good touch. Rosen has a knack for anticipating windows, and he can certainly throw his receivers open.
An accurate passer, Town doesn't make many bad throws. He gets great trajectory on his passes to the intermediate level, plus he puts good touch and arc on his throws to the third level. Town does a solid job of hitting his targets in the chest, and he can lead them away from defenders when needed. He knows how to anticipate windows opening up, evidenced by him routinely throwing to his targets before they come out of their breaks.
Vision, Intelligence and Decision-Making
Rosen is a natural and confident conductor before the snap. He can direct traffic after initially surveying the field, finds the safeties and does a good job of making pre-snap reads. Rosen knows which route combinations can beat certain coverages, and he takes care of the ball. He doesn't take many poor chances, he adjusts well to blitzes to locate his hot reads, and his decision-making ability is among the elite. Rosen is also a good ball-handler.
Town is an intelligent quarterback who plays with a lot of poise. He has good vision, evidenced by his ability to be effective off of play action. The future Trojan takes a lot in before the snap, locating safeties and key defenders. Town is a good decision-maker, as he seems to take into account the down, distance, time and situation of a play well for his age. He's not going to make many bad throws, and he keeps his offense on the field.
Mobility and Athleticism
This is a deceptive part of Rosen's game. He's not a dual-threat quarterback, but the future Bruin is a threat as a runner. He has solid athleticism and mobility to elude a rusher or two, and he can get to the edge to make throws on the run.
Town is an adequate athlete who's capable of rolling out and making throws on the run. However, he's not going to run by many people. He's not a sitting duck in the pocket, but don't look for many highlight-worthy runs by Town at USC.
Based on this breakdown, things shake out to a tie when counting who has more position advantages. This is an awfully tough call, as it's essentially splitting hairs and about which quarterback you prefer.
Town could be slightly further along than Rosen right now, but Rosen has the higher ceiling.
For UCLA fans, it's Rosen, while Trojan fans say Town. Who do you think is better?
Adam Gorney of Rivals.com (subscription required) wrote on March 20, "Much could be written about a rivalry that is about to get more heated with Rosen and Town possibly leading the Bruins and Trojans to Pac-12 prominence in a city that's always aching for a hearty story to tell."