Sam Darnold Draft Profile

Sam Darnold draft profile


  • Size
  • Goes through progressions
  • Anticipation
  • Solid arm strength
  • Hangs in against the blitz
  • Throw on the run
  • Decent mobility to move the chains
  • Leadership qualities

Analysis: Sam Darnold has the look of an NFL quarterback, prototypical size for the position. He always keeps his eyes down field, even when the pocket is collapsing. Scans full field and eyes don’t get bogged down on a single target. Gets through progressions like a pro. Throws with desired anticipation and timing. Isolates deep ball opportunities pre-snap. There isn’t a throw he fears. Darnold clearly trusts his arm with the throws he attempts. Naturally accurate with tight spirals. Has arm talent to uncork it quickly. Rifles it to hitches and swing passes giving them time to operate. Has velocity, timing and accuracy to own the deep out. Tough in and out of the pocket. My favorite part of Darnold’s game is his ability to complete passes in the face of a blitz. Completely unaffected by rushers. He can shake off defenders going for a sack attempt, reset and fire the ball to his target. Darnold has some mobility to his game and will take off and run when an opening is available. He won’t outrun defenders, but he’s slick enough to pick up first downs with his feet. Known as a leader and well-respected by his teammates and coaches. Short memory, he won’t be affected by mistakes he makes.


  • Long release
  • Windup
  • Turnover prone
  • Decision-making
  • Field vision
  • Fails to use lower half to drive throws
  • Does not throw the ball away, taking sacks instead
  • Intermediate-to-deep throw accuracy is iffy
  • Throws without his feet set

Analysis: Darnold’s biggest downfall is his elongated release–the ball drops to his waist with forearm pointed towards the ground, pre-delivery. Windup gives defenders early clue to break on the throw. Scouts question his ability to correct that technique due to muscle memory and the length of time he has utilized it. Calling Sam Darnold turnover prone could be an understatement– Finished 2017 with 13 interceptions and nine lost fumbles. Has 20 interceptions over last 20 games. Decision-making and field vision were inconsistent this year. Darnold got in trouble when he began to rush throws, trying to make something happen when absolutely nothing is available. He took sacks when incompletions were available. Rarely slides in the open field which has to change if he wants to stay on the field and not on the medical cart in the NFL. At times, Darnold will throw a fastball when he needs to put touch on the pass. Doesn’t use his lower half enough to generate velocity on his throws–all arm. He becomes too willing to throw off his back foot rather than reset and throw off an even platform.

Size: 6’4 220lbs

Draft Rank: No.2 QB

NFL Comparison: Philip Rivers

Draft Projection: Top 20

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Dan Schalk

Dan Schalk is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief for MFST and can be heard weekly on the 'My Fantasy Podcast'. He is likely watching Seinfeld right now, not that there's anything wrong with that.
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Latest posts by Dan Schalk (see all) SchalkNFLNFL DraftPac-12Recent PostsNFL,NFL Draft,Pac-12,Sam Darnold,USC TrojansSam Darnold Draft Profile Strengths: Size Goes through progressions Anticipation Solid arm strength Hangs in against the blitz Throw on the run Decent mobility to move the chains ...