USC quarterback Sam Darnold declares for 2018 NFL Draft
Within the same hour that UCLA’s Josh Rosen declared for the 2018 NFL Draft, USC quarterback Sam Darnold did the same, announcing his decision on his Instagram account.
“After talking to my immediate family, very close friends and many people who have helped me throughout my life, I have made the decision to declare for the 2018 NFL draft.
“I have been blessed that my life has been full of memorable moments and wonderful people. The people who have been involved in making me the man I am today have prepared me for the life and decisions that I have to make in the future.”
Prior to the season, Darnold was considered as the consensus top overall pick after shining for USC in 2016, highlighted by a prolific performance in the clutch in the Rose Bowl. However, Darnold struggled with his consistency 2017, leading to some analysts stating that he should stay with the Trojans for another year to develop. Still, this season he became the first quarterback in school history to throw for more than 4,000 yards. Perhaps the bar was placed unfairly high after what he did as a redshirt freshman.
While Darnold may not be the most pro-ready QB in the draft, he is considered to have the highest ceiling, which is why he will probably still be a top-five pick. As it stands today, the Cleveland Browns hold the first and fourth overall picks, while the New York Giants pick second. Both the Denver Broncos and New York Jets are projected to pick QBs in the first round as well; they hold the fifth and sixth overall selections, respectively.
Scouts love his size at 6’4″, 220 pounds, as well as his accuracy down the field. One of the biggest knocks against him was his tendency to turn the ball over, as he threw 13 interceptions while losing nine fumbles.