Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold doesn’t look like a QB savior

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 21: Sam Darnold
SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 21: Sam Darnold /

Sam Darnold to the Cleveland Browns with the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft seemed ideal. But Darnold might not be a sure thing.

Help me buy into Sam Darnold as a franchise quarterback. If there’s an elixir going around, please @ me. I want to believe. I’m tired of all the losing. Hope is all I have.

I watched Sam Darnold’s USC team get their butt kicked by Notre Dame, and it was appalling to hear the the broadcasters make excuses for the 20-year-old.

They blamed injuries, and the loss of upperclassmen to the NFL Draft as the reason the Trojans were stalling with Darnold as their field general.

But then I looked at the bottom of the screen.

USC entered the contest ranked as the 11th* best team in nation.

That would indicate that there’s some kind of talent in southern California, right?

I waited to write this, to make sure I wasn’t being a prisoner of the moment. Darold’s team lost, so it would’ve been easy to pile on.

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He’s a good prospect, however, I don’t see “it.”  He’s got that funky windup. He took way more snaps out of the shotgun than I had anticipated for someone supposedly playing in a pro-style offense. He looked uncomfortable in the pocket, and ball security has to be an issue. He threw nine interceptions in 2016. He’s already thrown 10 in the current campaign. For someone who was supposed to be the consensus No. 1 pick entering the draft, he’s far from a sure thing.

Everyone wants Andrew Luck to be waiting for their quarterback starved team, but in reality, Luck’s more the exception than the rule.

Mostly every prospect comes with risk. Deshaun Watson‘s tearing up the league now, but his success wasn’t a given. For as great as Carson Wentz is now, he went second in the 2016 NFL Draft. Goff is playing well in year two, but Wentz is an MVP candidate.

The Browns, of course, muffed it big time by passing on Wentz and Watson. They could’ve had either player. They just had to turn in the draft card.

If a franchise quarterback is there, someone in the organization has to force the issue to step up and make the pick, because you just never know what’s waiting for you in the next draft.

Darnold and the rest of this once supposedly top notch draft class which includes UCLA’s Josh Rosen and Wyoming’s Josh Allen suddenly isn’t as shiny as it was last August, and that’s according to an NFL GM, via The Sporting News.

"“Right now, this isn’t a draft where you see a quarterback go top three like everyone was saying, or maybe even top five,” the GM told Sporting News, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “The production isn’t there from anyone, and we are what, five, six or seven games in? You don’t see it.”"

For what it’s worth, here’s how the numbers break down for these quarterbacks, through Oct. 22: Darnold in eight games, 2,292 yards, 17 touchdowns and 10 interceptions; Rosen in seven games ,2,620 yards, 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions; Allen in seven games, 1,216 yards, eight touchdowns and six interceptions.

And now, talk is ramping up that Darnold may return to school for another season.

Judging by how he’s played this season, that might not be a bad thing for him in the long run.

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As for the Browns, this regime appears content to accumulate picks and chase unicorns  while real life prospects, who have become game changers continue to pass them by.