Coming into the 2017 college football season, Sam was talked about being the number 1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Now that talk as died down a bit due to his inability to grow from last year.
In 2016 Darnold had a very good Sophmore season. He finished with a 67.2 percent completion, 3086 yards 31 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. And a rating of 161. In 2017 he has fallen off, threw 8 games of the season Darnold as 63.5 percent completiton, 2292 yards and 17 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
In 2017 Darnold as thrown for at least 1 INT in 7 of his 8 games. Darnold has been trying to force throws in areas of the field that he should not be throwing the ball too. he’s making bad reads when choices are given to him. USC runs a lot of zone read plays where Darnold is allowed to decide whether he should give the ball to his running back or keep it himself. He almost never keeps the ball, so defenses virtually ignore him on those plays. Darnold is also set up with a ton of run/pass option plays, where he can either hand it to the running back or fire the ball to a receiver on a quick throw. He regularly chose to hand the ball off into stacked boxes, or pull the ball back and throw into tight coverage. While he almost never made those mistakes as a redshirt freshman last year, he’s making them routinely this season.Sam Darnold is a phenomenal quarterback with All-Pro upside, but he’s not perfect. That has been on display over the last few weeks as he’s routinely missed open receivers for big plays, forced balls into coverage and failed to build chemistry with receivers other than Deontay Burnett. While USC’s play-calling has left a lot to be desired, Darnold hasn’t consistently risen to the occasion when his team has needed him. This is why I’m saying he should choose to stay another year. Try and develop a little more before entering the NFL Draft.