Sam Darnold is looking to establish himself as the number one pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. The 6’4″ – 220 lb quarterback out of USC is coming off a sophomore season in which he threw for 4,143 yards with 26 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. In his two seasons at USC Darnold has 57 touchdowns and a 65% completion percentage.
Darnold did not get off to a good start in his draft preparation as he skipped all of the throwing drills at the NFL Draft Combine. He was criticized by the media as he was the only quarterback to not participate. Fellow top prospects Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson all took part in full throwing drills as Darnold stood and watched. There were rumors that Darnold did not participate due to a “tired” arm.
“No. No. No,” Darnold said in a 1-on-1 interview with NJ Advance Media. “I just didn’t throw because I felt like it was the right decision for me and the position I’m in.”
He did participate in the non throwing drills running a 4.85 in the 40-yard dash, 4.40 in the 20-yard shuttle, 6.96 in the 3-cone drill and measured at a 26.5 inch vertical jump with a 105-inch broad jump.
Darnold’s next time to shine was today at his USC Pro Day. Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, General Manager John Dorsey, head coach Hue Jackson, offensive coordinator Todd Haley and quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese were all in attendance.
With rain in the forecast all day many were interested to see how it would affect Darnold and his throwing. The inclement weather did not affect him one bit as he spun the ball with efficiency and accuracy while showing off his strong arm. He made all the throws that he needed to make with ease and hit his receivers in stride on timing patterns. Darnold had been working on tightening up his delivery which was also evident on Wednesday. He also did a better job with his balance and weight transfer when doing his five step drops. Many media members in attendance commented that this was one of the best pro day’s that they had ever seen especially considering the rainy weather.
The Cleveland Browns own the #1 pick in the draft and rumors are swirling that Sam Darnold is their man at number one. One front office employee of a team picking in the top five said he would be shocked if Darnold was not the top pick. His performance today may have solidified that position. The Browns are starved for a franchise quarterback and Darnold certainly looks the part.