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Sam Darnold | Quarterback

Team: USC Trojans
Ht / Wt:  6'4" / 215

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Optimum Scouting's Eric Galko writes that "mentally, instinctively, character-wise, and projection-wise, [USC QB Sam Darnold is] not that far off from Carson Wentz."
Galko believes that Darnold is "probably a full year away from showing the kind of player he really can be," but loves his upside, ranking him as his No. 1 quarterback in this draft class. Darnold and UCLA's Josh Rosen have emerged as the top two quarterbacks on most positional boards, with the order depending upon your outlet of reading. Rotoworld's Thor Nystrom throws a bit of a wrench in with his own rankings, slotting Rosen at No. 1, but then following up with Lamar Jackson while grading Darnold as his No. 3 signal-caller. Feb 20 - 2:37 PM

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CFB Film Room notes that Sam Darnold threw zero touchdowns and seven interceptions when under pressure in the pocket.

Darnold (6'4/220) completed 36-of-67 passes while facing pressure in the pocket, and averaged 8.6 yards-per-attempt, and that does not include throw aways. Compare that to Deshaun Watson -- a player that was criticized for turning the football over too much in his final year at Clemson -- who threw for six touchdowns and three picks under the same circumstances. There's no denying Darnold's arm strength, athleticism or upside, but that number sticks out like a sore thumb, and it's one that analytic teams are going to scrutinize until April.
Feb 19 - 3:30 PM

Washington State HC Mike Leach went on SiriusXM radio and stated that he believed both USC QB Sam Darnold and UCLA QB Josh Rosen should have stayed in school.

"I thought they both should have stayed," Leach said on SiriusXM NFL radio. "I think that Rosen measures out better in some areas, the ball he throws is real pretty, but to me it seems like Darnold elevates his team and I think those guys play around him a little better." According to most draft analysts, Darnold and Rosen are the top two quarterback prospects in the class, with Darnold having a chance to be the first-overall pick. The Pirate seems to feel they could have used another year of seasoning.
Feb 17 - 6:31 PM

Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio reports that the 2018 NFL Draft will be broadcast on FOX.

First time FOX will be airing the NFL's seven-round affair. They won't be doing it alone, as traditional draft stations ESPN and NFL Network will be tackling the event as per usual. According to Florio, FOX is actually expected to run a simulcast of the NFL Network's coverage, meaning that a new broadcast team is unlikely to be needed for the three-day airing. The draft will take place in Dallas from April 26-28.
Feb 14 - 4:30 PM

Matt Waldman warns to not allow USC QB Sam Darnold's inconsistent mechanics to overshadow his impressive results.

As Waldman puts it, this is Darnold transcending his technical flaws. I "expect Darnold to have moments in games where his style will help him deliver plays within a rhythm that only a handful can," Waldman writes. The two have different styles in how they move and play the position, but this same sentiment could be said for Patrick Mahomes last draft season. Expecting perfect technique for a player is incorrect process, instead work around and with that style in order to push the offense ahead.
Feb 13 - 11:04 AM

Appearing on NFL Network, former first-overall pick David Carr called USC QB Sam Darnold "as good as it gets" in terms of talent.

Carr was commenting on NFL.com Analyst's Bucky Brooks list of the top five quarterbacks in the 2018 class; of which Brooks has Darnold second behind UCLA's Josh Rosen. Carr commented on Darnold's ability on the field and the way he carried himself off the field, and believes he has the potential to be a star. The one concern he had with Darnold was his age, and he believes that the Trojan star needs to be in a system that can "let him learn." Whether or not Cleveland -- who has the first and fourth pick -- would be one of those teams is an interesting question.
Source: NFL.com
Feb 10 - 8:29 PM

NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah spoke with an NFL executive who called USC QB Sam Darnold "a guy that you can be comfortable with building a franchise around."

Specifically, the anonymous executive cited Darnold's character and upside as main reasons why a team would invest in Darnold as their top player. A few points always stand out when discussing Darnold. One, he is extremely young, and if he starts in week one he will be among the youngest to do so. Two, he hasn't been a full-time quarterback that long, lining up as a receiver and linebacker as a sophomore in high school. Which leads to three, he can be all over the place with his base and poise. In this same piece, four of five executives polled said they would rather sign Kirk Cousins than draft a quarterback.
Feb 8 - 10:32 AM

USC QB Sam Darnold said it "would be amazing" to be mentored by Eli Manning if he gets drafted by the New York Giants.

The Giants own the No. 2 overall draft pick in this spring's draft. "I was at the Manning Passing Academy, it was a great opportunity for me to get better, and I learned a lot from Eli," Darnold said. "He's a great guy, great personality, him and Peyton both." The quarterback-needy Browns pick No. 1, so it's no sure thing that Darnold (6'4/215) will even be available for New York. Either way, he's almost assuredly going in the top-five barring a poor pre-draft process.
Source: NFL.com
Feb 1 - 10:24 PM

NFL Media Analyst Daniel Jeremiah has the Browns taking USC QB Sam Darnold with the first pick in his latest mock draft.

Jeremiah keeps it short and sweet, simply stating that "The Browns finally find their franchise signal-caller." Because of how much talent there is at the position -- and because none of them separated themselves over the 2017 season -- we're going to see a few different quarterbacks projected with the first pick. That being said, Darnold still appears to be the favorite, if there is such a thing as a favorite three-plus months before the event.
Source: NFL.com
Jan 19 - 4:06 PM

NFL Draft Scout's Dane Brugler projects the Browns to take USC QB Sam Darnold with the first-overall pick in the 2018 draft.

Brugler has UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen going second to the Giants, NC State edge-rusher Bradley Chubb third to the Colts, and Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick rounding out the top four to the Browns. On Darnold, Brugler notes that his turnovers stand out, but it's tough to ignore his footwork, arm strength and instincts. Expect to see Darnold as the first-overall pick in many more mocks before we get to draft day.
Jan 17 - 1:48 AM

NFL Media Analyst Daniel Jeremiah compares USC redshirt sophomore QB Sam Darnold to former Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo.

This is a fun comp, for several reasons. For one thing, one might be the first pick in the draft (Darnold), one went undrafted (Romo). But there's certainly similarities in their style of play. "Like Romo during his playing career, Darnold is a really good athlete and is outstanding with his creativity when the play breaks down," Jeremiah writes. "Every now and then, both of them press their luck and make an ill-advised throw, but they each have rare playmaking ability."
Source: NFL.com
Jan 15 - 10:34 PM

USC redshirt sophomore QB Sam Darnold will forego his final two years of eligibility to enter the 2018 NFL Draft.

Two huge quarterback declarations broke over the wire just minutes apart, with UCLA's Josh Rosen announcing his intentions followed shortly thereafter by Darnold. Those two are counted by most outlets as the top draft-eligible quarterbacks in the country. Darnold (6'4/215) passed for 4,143 yards with a 26/13 TD/INT ratio during the 2017 season. He struggled with turnovers during his redshirt sophomore campaign, but even so, routinely flashed a big arm and beyond the requisite passing tools, possesses an underrated mobility and athleticism which allows him to make big-boy throws while on the run. While there was much talk that Darnold needed another year of seasoning at USC, the talented-but-still-developing quarterback will be in play to be drafted No. 1 overall this spring.
Jan 3 - 7:32 PM

The Sporting News' Eric Galko passes along that he has stopped placing USC redshirt sophomore QB Sam Darnold in mock drafts, as there is an increasing belief he will return to school for the 2018 season.

"The USC passer has spurned away NFL discussion and the role agents play in the process since the first half of the season," Galko writes, later going so far as to say that we should "expect" Darnold to return to school. None of this comes as a huge surprise. There have been several reports over the past few months that the USC gunslinger is seriously considering a return to school for the next season. The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder had himself an up-and-down campaign while flashing his elite athletic tools this season, ultimately finishing with 4,143 passing yards and a 26/13 TD/INT ratio.
Jan 2 - 3:09 PM

USC redshirt sophomore QB Sam Darnold completed 26-of-45 passes for 356 yards and an interception in Friday's 24-7 loss to Ohio State in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.

It was a bad game from Darnold, but he got little help from his offensive line, which disintegrated time and time again. Even when the redshirt sophomore wasn't sacked -- he was taken down eight times -- he often found himself scrambling for his life. Despite what was a broken performance by USC on the whole, the 6-foot-4, 215-pounder still managed several eye-popping completions, including several to the sidelines against super-tight coverage. The world will now await with baited breath to see if Darnold will declare for the NFL Draft. That's not a given, but should he make the jump, he's a potential top-five pick for the spring.
Sat, Dec 30, 2017 12:21:00 AM

USC redshirt sophomore QB Sam Darnold said that he would be happy to be drafted by any NFL team, regardless of record.

Up front, we should note that Darnold remains undecided on a draft declaration -- he's a player we've heard rumblings on regarding a potential return to school. That out the way, the redshirt sophomore is playing something of the anti-Josh Rosen in this situation. Rosen is reportedly hesitant to declare if the Browns (owners of the No. 1 overall pick) are targeting him and said on Tuesday that he would prefer to land with the right team, rather than merely the highest possible draft slot. Just in terms of personality, this disconnect between Darnold -- one of the coolest customers in collegiate ball -- and Rosen -- who tends to be more outspoken and opinionated in public -- falls very much in character for both players.
Wed, Dec 27, 2017 12:59:00 PM