Photo credit: Tom Pennington / Getty Images Sport
Author: Jon Kuzma
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Sam Darnold has been shooting up draft boards and it’s easy to see why. First Darnold threw extremely well at his pro day and then he changed a flight to throw for his USC teammate Ronald Jones’ individual workout. That was seen as a selfless move and it appears Sam Darnold is a stand up guy. The questions surrounding Darnold though are whether or not he is going to put all of the pieces together and make it happen in the NFL? Sam Darnold is a 6 foot 4 inch 220 pounder and he’s the ideal size for a professional quarterback. The problem with Darnold is sometimes he struggles from an execution stand point. In 2017 it was the USC QBs year to completely take over and prove he was the most dominant player in the country. Instead Darnold was shown up by Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson, and his cross-town rival Josh Rosen. Even though USC had a better year than UCLA. Rosen posted better stats with much less talent around him than the Trojan had. There’s also a lot of concerns when you plug in Sam Darnold’s tape and watch him play. One thing that stands out is the fact that Darnold relies on a half roll out technique. Most QBs will sprint out 20 yards or so towards the sideline to throw on the run. Darnold on the other hand usually moves the pocket about 5 to 10 yards toward each side of the field but that’s going to be hard to pull off in pro football. Defenders at the next level have great pursuit and will deliver a major blow if Darnold doesn’t keep his head on a swivel. The ideal quarterback sits in the backfield and trusts his arm to deliver strikes downfield. Darnold will have to grow a lot to become that type of player and he’s going to have to stop trying to extend the play by drifting out of the pocket. However If Darnold can make that transition into a pure drop back passer he could end up being the next big thing for whoever drafts him.
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