College Professional Sports

SPORTS DIGEST: Darnold, Rosen wait to learn their draft status

With the NFL Draft beginning April 26 at 5 p.m., most local interest concerns where USC quarterback Sam Darnold and UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen will be drafted. Both are expected to be first-round draft picks and both could go in the top 10 or even the top five.

There are a lot of teams that need quarterbacks in the draft and a lot of quarterbacks that are considered draftable, but there isn’t much of a consensus of opinion on which quarterbacks will go first.

Josh Allen of the University of Wyoming and Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma are also considered possible top 10 draft picks.

Lamar Jackson of Louisville, the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner, and Mason Rudolph of Oklahoma State are other possible first-round quarterbacks.

None of the six, however, are considered can’t miss prospects and with the Cleveland Browns holding this year’s top pick, the chances are that whoever gets picked at the top could flop because the Browns are the Browns and haven’t had a good quarterback since Bernie Kosar was in his prime 30 years ago.

Darnold’s sophomore season at USC wasn’t as good as a his freshman year and Rosen was hurt for much of his last two seasons at UCLA and there are some in the NFL who wonder how bad he wants to play in the league.

Former UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen is waiting to find out where he will be playing football next season as the NFL Draft begins April 26. Rosen is considered a potential first-round draft pick and could be among the top 10 picks overall. (File photo)

Allen may be the best physical specimen of the six but he played against lesser competition in college and still doesn’t possess amazing statistics. Mayfield is smaller than NFL coaches like their quarterbacks to be and has had some off-the-field issues, too.

Jackson may be the most athletic of the quarterback candidates, but also may require the most coaching.

I’m expecting at least three quarterbacks to be drafted in the top five picks and four in the top 10.

The Rams don’t draft until the third round, April 27. The Chargers have the 17th pick in the first round.

The Chargers have one pick in each of the seven rounds of the draft and the Rams have eight overall picks, one in the third round, three in the fourth round and four in the sixth round.

The first round is April 26, followed by rounds 2 and 3 April 27 and rounds 4 through 7 April 28.

FALL SCHEDULES: The Los Angeles Rams will open the 2018 NFL season in Oakland, playign the Raiders on Monday Night Football Sept. 10.

The Los Angeles Chargers will open the season at StubHub Center in Carson Sept. 9 against the Kansas City Chiefs.

The NFL revealed the schedules last week.

Both local teams will play in a foreign country this year. The Chargers play the Tennessee Titans in London Oct. 21 in what counts as a home game for the Chargers and the Rams will play the Chiefs in Mexico City Nov. 19 on another Monday night. That game also counts as a home game for the Rams.

The Rams’ seven-game schedule at the Coliseum also includes two night games: a Thursday night game against the Minnesota Vikings Sept. 27 and a Sunday night game against the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles Dec. 16.

Other games at the Coliseum will be against the Los Angeles Chargers (Sept. 23), Green Bay Packers (Oct. 28), Seattle Seahawks (Nov. 11) and San Francisco 49ers (Dec. 30).

The Chargers home consists of games against the San Francisco 49ers (Sept. 30), Oakland Raiders (Oct. 7), Denver Broncos (Nov. 18), Arizona Cardinals (Nov. 25), Cincinnati Bengals (Dec. 9) and Baltimore Ravens (Dec. 22 or 23).

The Chargers eight road games will be against the Buffalo Bills (Sept. 16), Los Angeles Rams (Sept. 23), Cleveland Browns (Oct. 14), Seattle Seahawks (Nov. 4), Oakland (Nov. 11), Pittsburgh Steelers (Dec. 2), Kansas City (Dec. 13) and Denver (Dec. 30).

The Rams road schedule includes the Seattle Seahawks (Oct. 7), Denver Broncos (Oct. 14), San Francisco (Oct. 21), New Orleans Saints (Nov. 4), Detroit Lions (Dec. 2), Chicago Bears (Dec. 9) and Arizona (Dec. 23).

Officials of the Los Angeles Football Club cut the ribbon on the Banc of California Stadium in Exposition Park April 18. The new 22,000-seat stadium will host the LAFC game against the Seattle Sounders April 29. LAFC is 4-2 so far in the team’s first season in Major League Soccer. (Courtesy photo)

NEW STADIUM: With much fanfare, the ribbon was officially cut April 18 to mark the completion of Banc of California Stadium in Exposition Park, home of the Los Angeles Football Club of Major League Soccer.

Team owners Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Mia Hamm-Garciaparra and Nomar Garciaparra were among those attending the ceremonial event, along with MLS Commissioner Don Garber, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and other elected and team officials.

The 22,000-seat stadium will have an intimate atmosphere with the steepest seating bowl in MLS, 34 degrees, and seats 12 feet away from the sideline. “The North End” Supporters Section features what the team describes as the first safe standing rail seats in North America, allowing fans to stand shoulder-to-shoulder.

“Rarely can you say this has exceeded expectations. It exceeded expectations,” said LAFC Executive Director Peter Guber. “When you go and you walk through it and you look at it, you can’t help but say, ‘Wow, I want to be here.’ And that’s the very purpose of this building, for the city to be here.”

LAFC Manager Bob Bradley said he was excited for the team’s chance to bring its passion and heart to the new field in honor of the people who made the new building happen.

“For everyone whose been a part of it, it’s our house,” he said. “And together, we’re LAFC.”

Construction of the stadium on the former site of the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena took 20 months. It is the first open-air stadium to be built in Los Angeles since Dodger Stadium was completed in 1962.

The $350 million project also includes a large public plaza, restaurants, LAFC retail store and a conference and events center planned to be in use 365 days a year.

In addition to LAFC games, the stadium will be a site for concerts, beginning June 2 with the pop music festival Wango Tango, and soccer in the 2028 Olympics.

LAFC has played its first six games of the season on the road, posting a 4-2 record that is good enough for second place in the Western Conference.

LAFC will play its first game at the stadium April 29 against the Seattle Sounders FC. The Sounders are off to a 1-3 start but have played in the last two MLS Championship Games, winning in 2016 and losing to Toronto, 2-0, last December.

Christian and Alex Roldan, midfielders who played high school soccer at El Rancho High School in Pico Rivera, both start in the midfield for the Sounders. In Seattle’s 3-1 win over Kansas City April 22, Alex Roldan was replaced in the second half by Clint Dempsey, who is tied for the most international goals scored by an American player with 57.

Dempsey is expected to be back in the starting lineup this week.