As the draft approaches, let’s take one last look at Sam Darnold and if the Cleveland Browns should select him first overall.
First of all, I believe Darnold is the safest pick of all the quarterbacks and he has a solid floor with a lot of upside. He has the tools that any team would want in a field general leading their franchise: the mental and the physical. The former USC quarterback is smart, confident and able to stay calm after making a mistake. His mental toughness is respectable, but we all know it’s what’s on the field that everyone is looking for.
Don’t worry, Darnold has that, too. He uses his eyes to look off safeties and goes through his progressions properly. He has above-average arm strength and has the accuracy to nail those tight window passes. In addition to all that, the former Trojan has decent mobility and is pretty accurate in the run.
Of course, when you’re under the microscope, everything you do or don’t do is scrutinized. Darnold gets knocked for his small hands and ball positioning leading to his numerous turnovers. His hands measure at 9 3/8″ and I’m here to tell you that doesn’t mean squat. You know who else has small hands? Jameis Winston (9 3/8″) and Jared Goff (9″), so just because Darnold has small hands doesn’t mean he can’t be successful.
Now if you want to knock Sam Darnold’s throwing motion, check out this video (full video on nfl.com) and it might change your mind:
Dread it, complain about it, but Sam Darnold will be drafted by the Cleveland Browns with the first pick and he couldn’t be in a better situation. A 20-year-old with two years of college experience won’t be pressured to play, but rather sit behind Tyrod Taylor for a year or two and learn the playbook and the NFL game.