Rankings

Player Display Name: 
Sam Darnold

Quarterback
School: USC | Conference: PAC 12
HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6-3.5 / 221 | 40: 4.85 | DRAFT YR:2018

Rankings

Grade
4.55
Projected Round
1st
Bio: 
Two-year starter who earned First Team All-Pac-12 honors and led the conference with 4,143 passing yards while completing 63.1 percent of his passes with 26 touchdowns and 13 interceptions as a sophomore. Named Freshman Offensive Player of the Year and Honorable Mention All-Pac-12 in 2016 and completed 67.2 percent of his passes for 3,086 yards, 31 touchdowns and nine INTs.
Pos: 
Exciting quarterback prospect with tremendous upside potential. Patient, poised in the pocket and senses the rush very well. Keeps his feet active, keeps his eyes downfield and scrambles around the backfield to elude defenders and buy time for receivers. Has the foot speed and quickness to pick up yardage with his feet. Knows where receivers are on the field, effectively commands the offense and improvises if plays break down. Possesses a next-level arm and displays speed and velocity on all his throws. Throws with an over-the-top delivery, has a quick release and gets the ball immediately to the intended target. Flashes the ability to beautifully place throws in an area where only his receiver can make the reception. Sells ball fakes, effectively looks off the safety and plays tough football. Shows the innate ability to improvise when plays break down to pick up positive yardage when seemingly nothing is available.
Neg: 
Ball security is a major issue. Fumbles snaps and handoffs, fumbles as a runner outside the pocket and throws too many interceptions. Must improve the consistency of his pass placement. Throws behind receivers and makes them leave their feet often to make the reception. Has a long throwing motion and must improve his overall passing mechanics.
Analysis: 
Darnold has tremendous hype surrounding him, as he delivers in big spots and possesses next-level physical skills. He is by no means a sure thing and possesses as much downside risk as he does upside potential. Darnold should be successful at the next level, but I would expect him to throw more than his fair share of interceptions and turn the ball over more than the average quarterback.