Sam Darnold- QB USC

6-3, 220, (O) 4.85, 31" Arm, 

9.3" Hand, 6.96 3-Cone! 4.4 SS, 

8'9" Broad, 26.5" Vert,

It's all About The Feet. 


Darnold will lose some accuracy when he looses control of his feet. He will loose some accuracy when he gets to his third option, and goes deep. Much better thrower on the run than Rosen. Great job leading the RB swinging out of the backfield. So he can catch the ball in full stride without an adjustment. He will block for his WR on the reverse. 

He should have stayed in school to become a better QB, but probably has to come out and start his NFL career. It is not smart to pass on a top two pick in the NFL Draft. Either he or Rosen will be Number One to the Browns (or Number Four;), and the other two could go Two to NJG, or 6 to the Broncos at the lowest.

He throws a great accurate ball to the 2nd level, when the pocket is collapsing around with amazing consistency. He was using his TE more as the season went on. Puts too much under it sometimes, you'd like his arm to be a little stronger. I love how he throws to the outside shoulder of the receiver going down the sideline. He has sloppy feet that will hurt him in the NFL. They help him cause too many turnovers.

He loses accuracy when he looses control of his feet. He will loose some accuracy when he gets to his third option, and goes deep. Much better thrower on the run than Rosen. Great job leading the RB swinging out of the backfield, so he can catch the ball in full stride without an adjustment. He will block for his WR on the reverse sometimes. Too often throws to the well covered WR, and not the guy open outside. 

He has small hands for an NFL QB. "It’s been such a dream of mine to play in the NFL," Darnold said. "And for an organization to put their trust in me to be able to go out there and play football for them, I think any opportunity to play for anyone would be amazing." Terrific athlete who can take a beating and keep on ticking. 

Plus, he kind-ah sort-ah almost wants to go to the Browns. "Honestly, yeah, it would be awesome," Darnold said said about being drafted with the 1st pick. "But at the same time, I look at it holistically and I'm going to factor everything into it. But, yeah, to be the No. 1 pick, that would be so special." Or just be the Number One Pick.

But he some issues that will haunt him in the NFL, like turnovers. "I look at Darnold and right now I have him as my No. 1 quarterback and the reason I do is I think he has plus size, plus arm strength, outstanding athlete, and I really like the way he extends plays inside and outside of the pocket,'' Mayock said. "And when he scrambles or moves, it's with the intent of getting the ball down the field. His eyes are always up." Now the flipside to Darnold are the turnovers and not just interceptions but fumbles. 

Struggles to read complicated and disguised defense, like Ohio State's near NFL defense. "He's got a history of fumbling going back to high school,'' Mayock said. "But fumbling can be controlled in the pocket. That's one of the few things you can learn in the pocket as an NFL quarterback, is how to keep both hands on the football and control some of the fumbling. He's a gunslinger, and he'll put the ball up for grabs at times. But he can play in all 32 cities. He can play indoors. He can play outdoors.'' Fumbles too much, and has a wind up in his delivery. 

He was not great in the Bowl game. "Whenever you turn over the ball that much, it's hard to win games. I made a bad read on the pick-six. I shouldn't have thrown it, obviously. He jumped inside of the receiver right after the ball was snapped, and I didn't see him. And it was a bad play on my part," Darnold said. "Then the strip fumbles. When I'm in the pocket, those are tough. It's just little things. I missed a couple of throws, too, that I'd like to have back. That would have switched the momentum. There was a lot of stuff where we shot ourselves in our foot." But he was clutch for most of his time at USC. 

He has trouble finding his third option. He looks at his first two options, and when they aren't open he instantly starts running around the pocket with amazing consistency. But he doesn't just take off. He is amazing at regaining his composure while using his feet to gain time to finding his third or fourth options. He can find those guys running around the pocket (usually to his right), and trying to find some space to throw.  

Additional Notes:

A&M: He continues to struggle when he get knocked down a lot. He got knocked down 3 or 4 times in the 1st half against A&M, and he fell apart in the 1st half. He held onto the ball way too long, and didn't throw to open receivers. He has to start faster. He might be like Brady, in that he needs to be hit sometimes before he can throw accurately. Always seems to play better in the 2nd Half than the 1st. He has to learn to play the whole game. 

Fighting Irish: He has to get cleaner in the 1st half. I love how he finishes games, but he can't be a negative in the 1st Half of every game. He can look to his third option, and then take off. Nice burst forward when he takes off. I would draft him because he is such a clutch thrower. Not only in come backs, but on 3rd and 4th downs as well. 

Washington ST: He might not be as consistent that you want, but he is great in the clutch. Great thrower down the seams. Locks onto a WR too much early. Terrific throwing quick off the play action. He is terrific scrambling with the ball, but he is tough to bring down and takes a beating when he runs. He has to learn to slide down sooner. He made a great throw on 3rd and 13, while being dragged down by two guys, and he hit his WR for a 1st. Then he completed a pass to his WR on the next play, after the big hit. He should stay in school.

Darnold Vs UCLA:

Takes off a little too much, but he can get the 1st with his feet. He will throw into double coverage early. He looks at the rushers too much sometimes, but he has elite elusiveness in the pocket. He can dance around with his feet to give him time to find another receiver, and not just to take off. Still gets locked onto the WR for so long the Safety can get over in front of him to intercept the ball.

He can roll out to his right and look at two WRs, and then run back to the left and throw it to the RB on the opposite sideline. He often looks at his first two options, and then takes off as he looks at the rushers. But quickly turns back to the receivers and can throw it to them nicely. He can look to his third WR and then throw the ball away.

When everything breaks down he can take off. He has to have better with ball security when he runs. Nice fastball on short throws over the middle. Nice arm throwing 40 to 50 yards downfield. When his feet are flat footed, he will over throw his WR sometimes. He has to control his feet and body position better. He gets his feet parallel to the line, and loses everything. He is such a great foot athlete that it is surprising, but he does get lazy with his feet too much.

What separates him from Rosen is that he is elite in the two minute warning. He has a knack for when to call a timeout with the clock ticking. He does a good job hitting his guys in stride when crossing, so they can run with the ball. Great job avoiding the rush, and whipping it 30-yards downfield on a rope. But then he got them down to the ten, and got tackled in bounds at the 10 with no timeouts. 

He throws a great accurate ball to the 2nd level, when the pocket is collapsing around with amazing consistency. He was using his TE more as the season went on. Puts too much under it sometimes, you'd like his arm to be a little stronger. I love how he throws to the outside shoulder of the receiver going down the sideline. Nice ball placement to put it in the opposite shoulder of the DB. 

Darnold Vs UCLA:

Darnold Vs Ohio ST:

He has a bit of a wind up sometimes (:01). Nice quick feet in drop. Knows when to throw it away (:14). Why is he considered the top QB in the Draft? He avoided two rushers Moved his feet out of trouble but kept his balance and technique. Then hits his WR in the face of three rushers about to hit him (:19). That is as good an NFL throw as you will see in college.

College play action into another NFL throw down the sideline (:30). Sacked hard by two rushers (:37). This is next play after the big hit. He dropped, and dropped again. Went across the field to his third or forth option, and misfired (:49). He finally put one on target after the hit (1:02). Excellent feet and delivery (1:12). But Ohio State's defense is killing it. 

0 for 1 after Sack.

Throwing before he looks. His two big problems are hands size and turnovers. That was just a lazy throw. He didn't bother to read, he just threw to his first option (1:23). When he looses control of his feet he can loose control of the ball. He is praised too much for being sloppy, and ignoring how much his sloppy feet leads to the turnovers (1:49).  He has to clean up his feet, before he can even pretend to clean up his turnover problems.

He usually has the athleticism to throw great on the run (1:56). He is also a guy who can take some time to warm up in games. Nice throw as the pocket collapsed around him (2:03). He is a great athlete and instinctual runner with the ball in his hands (2:12). Nice thrower to the second level (2:22). He can find a alley to throw though, and snap it quick (2:30). Finally sacked again (2:37). And his small hands betrayed him.

0 for 2 after Sack.

This wasn't his next throw, but the start of the next series. But he still threw a terrible pass (2:47). But then he came back and dropped it in the bucket. That was an NFL throw (2:53). He threw into triple coverage (3:00). Sacked again (3:15). This is not the next play, but the same series. He finally completes on after he takes a big hit (3:03). However, that is 1 for 3 after he was sacked.

He has to do a better job throwing the ball away (3:34). He had time and an open target. But lost his feet, and panicked in the face of the big rusher. The ball sailed on him badly (3:41). Misfired in the face of the big rusher again. That is an average throw in the NFL (4:03). Threw over the open receiver to the well covered receiver (4:08). That is an NFL throw (4:14). He is so young and inconsistent. He is not prepared to play in the NFL. Like 99% of college QBs, he needs time to develop into a system. He will likely not be given that time. So he will have to survive mentally somehow as a rookie, as he gets the crap beat out of him. 

Look for him to get hot now. Open pocket. He climbs up a little, and fired an NFL touchdown pass. However, the WR was tackle right in front of the ref (4:21). Great hit by Hubbard (4:29). This is not the next play. It is the next series. That is an NFL play action, but only because he turned his back to the defense (4:34). He still couldn't complete the pass after he is off the field for minutes.

1 for 4 after a Sack. 

But he has a way of turning things on in the 4th. That is the main reason he is considered the top QB in the Draft (4:41). But this makes me crazy. He is so tough and talented. But watch the feet here. He lost complete control of his feet. They actually get parallel to the line. That can never happen in the NFL (4:48). Darnold believers pretend that his feet is just cute silliness, but he cannot play like that in the NFL. 

When you have time and space you have to be perpendicular to the target. When he looses his feet he looses his accuracy. Loosing your feet and accuracy is the difference between Brady, and the six higher rated QBs taken before him in the 2,000 Draft. Technique and feet are everything in the pocket. Brady never looses his feet and technique in the pocket. Darnold cannot win in the NFL until he cleans up his sloppy feet. That wasn't a bad throw, that was deathnel. 

Top five throw in this game. Watch him extend his left hand onto his blockers back, and kept his feet perpendicular to the LOS (4:57). He has some twitch in his shoulders. That is that snap-over throw that Mayfield uses. Where to look left, to move the safety, and then snap over to the first option on the right (5:04). That was his first, not second, option. 

Flat-footed and lazy throw. Just because a QB completes a pass doesn't make it okay (5:10). He makes me nuts, and then throws a dart like that. That is as beautiful throw as you will see (5:17). A little too inaccurate in the face of the rusher (5:21). He did a nice job climbing the pocket, but his sloppiness and small hands did him in again (5:30). Nice recovery (5:39). He kept his feet and threw accurately. 

He got hit and then sacked (5:59). This was not the next play, but the same drive. Great job throwing in the face of pressure after the sack (6:21). Nice NFL throw into tight coverage. Perfect placement (6:20). Completed the pass and then got hammered by Bosa (6:25). Next play after the big hit (6:21). Best throw of the game. In the NFL you have to be able to climb the pocket and throw a dime, especially after the big hit.

3 for 6 after a Sack (or big hit;). 

Sacked again (6:39). Terrible-terrible throw after the sack (6:45). When he escapes the pocket to his right he can make the great throw (6:52). Sacked again (6:57). Next play. He had to bail to the right, and put the ball where only his WR could catch it, but he didn't (7:03). Panicked in the face of pressure (7:09). 3 for 8 after a Sack. 

Darnold Vs Ohio ST:


Darnold's Official Bio:

2017: The poised-beyond-his-years Darnold, known for his quick release, accuracy, mobility and heady play, enters his second season as USC’s starting quarterback as just a sophomore in 2017. He is a leading Heisman Trophy contender in 2017 after earning national accolades in his 2016 rookie showing.

2016: Darnold proved to be among the top quarterbacks in the nation as just a redshirt freshman in 2016. His insertion into the starting lineup in the fourth game of 2016 gave the USC offense a spark as the Trojans won the final 9 games of the season. Overall in 2016 while appearing in all 13 games and starting the last 10, he completed 246-of-366 passes (67.2%) for 3,086 yards with 31 TDs and 9 interceptions, plus 62 carries for 250 yards (4.0 avg) with 2 TDs and 3 tackles.

He won the 2016 Archie Griffin Award from the Touchdown Club of Columbus (given to the nation’s season-long most valuable player after the bowls) and was among 10 finalists for the 2016 Manning Award and 18 semifinalists for the O’Brien Award, both awarded to the nation’s top quarterback. He was the 2016 Pac-12 Freshman Offensive Player of the Year, made Football Writers Freshman All-American first team and Campus Insiders Freshman All-American second team and was All-Pac-12 honorable mention. He made the 2016 AP All-Bowl Team first team and ESPN Pac-12 All-Bowl Team first team. He won USC’s 2016 Most Inspirational Player Award and Bob Chandler Award (underclassman with outstanding athletic ability, academic achievement and character).

He is the only USC quarterback in history to have back-to-back 5 passing TD games (Arizona and California in 2016). He threw multiple TD passes in 9 straight games, the most by a Trojan since Matt Leinart’s 15 in 2003-04. He was ninth nationally in passing efficiency (161.1, second in Pac-12), 10th in completion percentage (.672, second in Pac-12) and 13th in passing TDs (31, fourth in Pac-12). He was second in the nation in ESPN’s Total Quarterback Rating (86.8), behind only Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield. In his 10 starts, he threw 29 touchdowns and just 8 interceptions. Among freshmen quarterbacks, he was first nationally in passing efficiency (161.1), completion percentage (.672), TD passes (31) and yards per attempt (8.4). His 31 TDs in 2016 is a USC freshman season record. His 250 rushing yards in 2016 are the most in a season by a USC quarterback since Reggie Perry’s 254 in 1991. He already is 15th on USC’s career passing list with 246 completions (he also is tied for 10th on Troy’s season passing chart with those 246 completions). His 3,336 yards of total offense in 2016 is eighth on USC’s season list and 20th on USC’s career list.

Playing off the bench against Alabama, he was 4-of-8 for 29 yards and he ran for 9 yards on 3 carries. Against Utah State, he was 5-of-7 for 62 yards with 2 TDs off the bench. At Stanford, he saw late action and was 5-of-7 for 45 yards and an interception. At Utah, he made his first start (just the sixth redshirt freshman to start at quarterback for USC) and hit 18-of-26 passes for 253 yards and he also ran for 41 yards on 9 carries (with an 8-yard TD), the most rushing yards in a game by a USC quarterback since Matt Leinart’s 46 in 2004 against Colorado State. He completed 69.7% of his passes (23-of-33) for 352 yards and 3 TDs (all career highs) while starting against Arizona State (he also ran for 8 yards on 3 tries, with a 3-yard TD run) to earn Manning Award Star of the Week honors. Against Colorado, he threw for a career-best 358 yards with 3 TDs on 25-of-37 passing to become the first USC freshman to have back-to-back 300-yard passing games since Todd Marinovich in 1989 did so versus Notre Dame and Stanford (he earned O’Brien Award Great 8 honors), but he also had an interception and lost 2 fumbles (he ran for 22 yards on 8 carries). He threw a USC freshman record 5 TDs at Arizona on 20-of-32 passing and he added 54 yards on 6 carries (the most rushing yards in a game by a USC quarterback since Carson Palmer’s 60 against Kansas State in 2001) while playing just the first 3 quarters to earn Rose Bowl Game Pac-12 Player of the Week, O’Brien Award Great 8 and Pac-12 Player of the Week honors. For a USC record second consecutive game, he threw 5 touchdowns (also tying his USC freshman game record) as he completed 72.0% of his passes (18-0f-25) for 231 yards against California, but he threw an interception and lost 2 fumbles (and he had 5 rushes for 12 yards). Against Oregon, he hit 70.0% of his passes (28-of-40, both career highs) for 309 yards with 2 TDs but he threw an interception (he also ran for 23 yards on 5 carries). At Washington, he completed 69.7% of his passes (23-of-33) for 287 yards with 2 TDs and 2 interceptions, and also ran for 15 yards on 4 carries to earn Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week, Rose Bowl Game Pac-12 Player of the Week and O’Brien Award Great 8 honors. He completed 25-of-36 passes for 267 yards and 2 TDs (with 2 interceptions) and ran for 27 yards on 9 carries at UCLA. He was 19-of-29 passing for 205 yards and 2 TDs (52 and 2 yards) with no picks against Notre Dame and he also ran for 16 yards on 3 tries. He turned in a legendary performance when he was named the Rose Bowl Offensive Player of the Game against Penn State as he set Rose Bowl records with 5 passing TDs and 473 total yards of offense; he was 33-of-53 passing for 453 yards overall in the game (all were career highs and second most ever in a Rose Bowl), including 10-of-10 for 135 yards in the fourth quarter as he engineered 2 long touchdowns drives in the final 9 minutes to tie the score.

2015: Darnold redshirted in 2015 as the No. 3 quarterback as a first-year freshman. He was USC’s Offensive Service Team Player of the Year.

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