Sam Darnold: 2018 Draft Prospect
- 2016: Archie Griffin Award, (college MVP-includes bowl season unlike Heisman), Pac 12 Freshman Offensive Player of the Year, Honorable Mention All-Pac 12
NFL Draft Board Analysis:
Highest pick on the NFL Draft Board:
Walterfootball.com is the first NFL mock draft appearing on the NFL Draft Board. On Walterfootball.com’s NFL mock draft, Sam Darnold goes to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Blake Bortles took a step back in 2016. So, Bortles needs to change the trend. Otherwise, Jacksonville will target Darnold, or UCLA’s quarterback Josh Rosen, at the top of the 2018 NFL draft.
Most likely destination from the NFL Draft Board:
Sam Darnold goes in the the top five picks of the 2018 NFL draft. Unless an injury sidetracks Darnold, he signs a top five draft choice NFL contract in 2018. And, teams at the top of the draft usually need quarterbacks. Walterfootball.com puts three teams in search of a quarterback in the top five draft choices of the 2018 NFL draft. Additionally, Darnold is a quarterback worth trading up for. So, lock it in, Darnold is drafted in the top five of the 2018 NFL draft.
Comparative position ranking on the NFL Draft Board:
Sam Darnold appears as the first quarterback drafted in the 2018 NFL draft with the first pick. But, right behind him lurks UCLA’s quarterback Josh Rosen. Walterfootball.com projects Rosen as the second pick in the 2018 NFL draft. Depending on their 2017 season, Rosen could leapfrog Darnold for the top pick.
- Penn State in the 2017 Rose Bowl
- Cal in 2016
- Notre Dame 2016
- Utah 2016
- SCene breakdown good description of Run Pass Option (RPO)
- Sam Darnold comes with a pro quarterback body.
- Darnold benefitted from throwing to a very talented receiving corps including Juju Smith-Schuster.
- From the Rose Bowl film we see Sam Darnold handle pressure like a fifth year senior. Only Deshaun Watson’s National Championship Game performance outshines Darnold’s Rose Bowl performance for the cool under pressure award. But, his biggest threat the the number one pick, Josh Rosen, showed some cracks when behind in the Texas A&M game. Rosen’s decision making broke down. He threw unadvised passes when under pressure. And, he took unnecessary sacks by holding onto the ball too long instead of giving up on the play. Conversely, in the Rose Bowl, Darnold kept his cool and rallied to a come from behind victory.
- Darnold’s film shows some accuracy concerns. Some minor flaws cause the accuracy issues. First, his hip flies out in his delivery. Watch Peyton Manning’s delivery. Manning steps directly into the pass. Darnold’s left hip appears to flare out.
- He also feels the rush very well, knowing when exactly to get rid of the ball. And, Darnold avoids sacks with the best of them.
- Most of Darnold’s drop backs come from the shotgun. However, the NFL will most likely require Darnold to work from under center or at least from the pistol. At his pro day NFL coaches should run Darnold from under center to see what they are getting.
- Darnold feet stick to the ground a little. Watch a Peyton Manning footwork drill. Darnold could increase accuracy on some throws with quicker feet. He throws off balance, sometimes unnecessarily. And, Darnold’s feet get lazy.
- Lazy feet could be a product of his cannon arm. In high school Darnold could overcome some of the flaws in his delivery with his big arm. And, his big arm saves him in college. But, the NFL will require him to tighten up his delivery.
- Darnold works down his read progression like an NFL veteran. Also, Darnold shows confidence in what he sees. He sees the whole field.