So……..We’re Doing Darnold?

So, yesterday was Sam Darnold’s Pro Day at the University of Southern California.  These events are fucking stupid plain and simple.  Sam’s was especially stupid, because it was pouring rain out (Does USC not have a bubble?) which got all the analysts hot and bothered.  Whatever Sam did on the field during this workout is absolutely 100% irrelevant.  I could care less how far he throws, how tight the spiral is, and if he can hit an uncovered dude wearing shorts.  I simply don’t care.  NOTHING and I mean nothing matters football wise, until I see it on the field in an NFL game. I am more interested in finding clues as to who the Browns are leaning to picking come April. This Pro Day was interesting for that reason.

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Well well well!  Looks like there may be a leader in the Clubhouse for the number one overall pick?  Jimmy Haslam swapping spit with the Darnold family, while Sammy was slingin’ the rock in the rain.  Many share the belief that draft stock doesn’t necessarily go up after a pro-day, but your stock can go down.  Pro Day’s are seen as a way to solidify your standing with teams.  It is sounding like Sam really solidified himself as the top Quarterback Prospect in this years draft.  The overwhelming thought around the league is that the Browns will take Sam Darnold 1st overall.

I truthfully don’t know who this guy is, but he strongly believes the Giants are on the clock.  This would mean Darnold locked in as the first overall pick.  This whole thing reeks of taking him first overall.

I mean that is one hefty contingent travelling out to  watch this kid run around in shorts. Sounds like there was a dinner held with Darnold and the Browns brass the night before his workout as well.  It just seems like this guy is the guy, and everyone is doing their due diligence prior to being selecting their guy. I saw some people griping that Jimmy Haslam was meddling again, and to that I say fuck off.  The number 1 pick of the 2018 NFL draft is the most important single event in the 18 years since the Browns have returned.  You bet your ass he’ll be there. The Browns finally control their own destiny in terms of who to draft. They don’t have to see who trades up and down, they don’t have to worry about guys not falling to them, and they don’t have to settle for the third or fourth best Quarterback option. They haven’t have this opportunity since ’99 when Tim Couch was drafted 1st overall, and the Browns as we know them hadn’t played a single game yet. This year, the Browns have the pick of the litter.

In other news, it appears Sam Darnold actually wants to play in Cleveland? Albert Breer published an article documenting Sam’s day with the Browns.  Darnold had some interesting thoughts with throwing coach, Jordan Palmer (Yes, Carson’s brother).

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All the signs are there, and it really does appear that Sam Darnold will be chosen first overall.  Better yet, Sam seems excited about playing for the team and likes the idea of sitting for a year.  So here I am on 3/22/2018 saying the Browns will pick Sam Darnold.  For the get-go he’s been regarded as the unanimous best Quarterback (among writers/analysts), and his Pro Day solidified that, and all of the Browns major decision makers where there to see it.

It’s gotta be Darnold, right?

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With The First Pick of The 2018 NFL Draft, The Cleveland Browns Select: Sam Darnold

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Here we go with the second Quarterback on my Rookie QB wish-list.  Sam Darnold from USC.  Darnold is coming off a 4,000 yard Sophomore campaign.  Coming into the year Darnold was seen as a unanimous #1 overall pick.  Both USC, and Darnold himself disappointed in 2017, but not bad enough to ruin his draft stock.  USC finished 11-2, and got waxed in the Cotton Bowl by Ohio State.

History has not been kind to USC Quarterbacks.  They are consistently pumped up as the next great thing, and it never pans out.  They are all seen as the (my favorite word!) prototype NFL signal caller. What is the prototype?  It’s a 6’4 225 pocket passer, who has a rocket arm.   All USC Quarterbacks fit that mold when their slinging the rock against the fucking Oregon State Beavers.

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(Look even John David Booty made it to an SI cover)

In the NFL it is a different story.  More often than not, they amount to shit.  Occasionally, guys are able to carve out a decent career (Carson Palmer, Matt Cassel).

Lets take a brief look back at USC Quarterbacks past:

Matt Leinart:

Selected 10th overall in 2006, by Arizona Cardinals. Career record: 8-10.

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This guy straight sucked.  First of all this is nothing but pure bias on my part, but NEVER EVER take a lefty Quarterback.  He was one of those guys labeled the “prototype” NFL QB.  Problem is he threw like a Sally.  Leinart toiled around with the Texans, Raiders, and Bills before calling it quits.

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Matt Barkley:

Selected 98th overall by the Philadelphia Eagles.  Career Record: 1-5

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Another USC QB, another bust.  Barkley was regarded as a sure fire first round draft pick in 2011.  That didn’t stop him from returning to USC for his Senior season in 2012.  Big mistake.  Going into the year, Barkley was the unanimous number 1 pick with all the draft nerds, and leading Heisman trophy candidate.  His team was ranked #1 in the country to go along with it.  By years end USC had lost five games, Barkley had a shoulder injury that ended his season, and he had fallen out of the first round in draft projections.

Barkley was drafted by Philadelphia 98th overall in 2013,  and he never saw the field.  Philly traded him to Arizona in 2015, who cut him weeks later.  As a backup Matt got a few starts with Chicago in 2016, but still went 1-5.  He was on the Arizona Cardinals roster in 2017, but was inactive for all 16 games.

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Mark Sanchez: 

Selected 5th overall by the New York Jets in 2009.  Career Record: 37-35

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Ahhhhhh yes!  The Sanchize.  I remember it well.  Mark Sanchez came on to the scene with slightly less fanfare than the other two hacks.  However, in his draft year he soared up draft boards right behind the consensus #1 overall pick, Matt Stafford.  The Jets took Sanchez 5th overall after trading up with the Cleveland Browns.  Sanchez had an immediate impact.  The Jets went 9-7 and 11-5 his first two seasons as starter.  He even managed to take his team to the AFC Championship twice.  The kicker?  They beat the Patriots in Foxboro, in January.

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It all went down hill from here for Marky Mark.  The Jets would miss the playoffs each of the following two seasons, and finally Sanchez was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015.  Since then, he’s been a journeyman backup.  He’s suited up for Denver, Dallas,, and Chicago.  I’m sure he will pop up in some camp this August.

These are the three most recent examples of over-hyped USC stiffs.  Carson Palmer gets an honorable mention, as his career turned out to be mediocre at best once he took that shot to the knee in the 2005 Wild-Card game against Pittsburgh.

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Just goes to show you there is enough of a trend for me to have MAJOR doubts picking a highly rated USC Signal Caller.  However, there is something about Darnold that leads me to believe he could be the exception to the rule.  Of course, once again he is seen as the “Prototype” NFL QB.  The kid is a fucking Mack Truck standing at 6’4, 225lbs.  That will come in handy at the NFL for sure.  Darnold has a big arm, and he is not afraid to stand in the pocket and sling it.

A few things standout watching these two clips, Sam has some fuckin’ confidence in his arm, eh?  He is willing to stand in there, and fit the ball into tight windows to make plays.  At 2:05 of the second video, Sam is being pressured from the outside on a four man rush.  He is able to use his vision, and footwork to evade pressure, and he fires a missile to his receiver in the back of the endzone.  The throw at 2:05 seriously gave me a chubby for Darnold.

I also noticed that he is surprisingly good using his legs.  Not only can he move around the pocket to create throwing lanes, Darnold can take off and get chunks of yardage.  It also appeared like USC ran some designed QB running plays to get him into space.  He rushed for 332 yards and 7 touchdowns in his two years at USC.  Not bad all.

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What I do definitively like about this kid, is his attitude.  There were reports that he would head back to Southern Cal for his Junior season simply to avoid the Browns.  That’s not the case obviously, as he and Josh Rosen declared for the draft this past January.   Seems like the kid has a good head on his shoulders, and it’s not lodged up his clam like Josh Rosen.  Rosen walks around with the stench of prick following him around.  Darnold is humbled, well spoken, and seen as a true leader by his teammates.  After-all, he does have the “C” on his jersey.

Will Dorsey and the gang find all this enough to grab Sam Darnold with the 1st or 4th pick in the draft?  We’ll see…

Cleveland Browns’ Quarterback Sam Darnold/Josh Rosen Declares for NFL Draft.

Kudos to Sashi Brown. Really, what an absolute masterpiece of a tank job. Last night, USC’s Sam Darnold, and UCLA’s Josh Rosen both declared for the NFL draft. Cleveland’s offseason will come down to which one they’ll choose. Personally, I’m not too thrilled with either one. I really feel like Rosen, and Darnold will go 1 and 2, a la Mariota and Winston, or Goff and Wentz. In that regard, we’re stuck with one of them, so let’s pick one and roll with it. Build the fucking team around him.

Right now if you put a switchblade to my balls, and asked me who the better Quarterback was, I’d say Rosen. He’s got a more rounded game than Darnold. He’s obviously very smart, makes the right reads, and doesn’t force it too much. I see Rosen having a Alex Smith type career. Not great, but not bad in any way.

Now, for Darnold. Based on chatter surrounding these two, Darnold seems like he’ll be the pick. He’s not the better of the two quarterbacks right now, but he has the tools to have a higher ceiling than Rosen. Sam is big, 6’4 225 lbs, a frame which will come in handy in the AFC North. His highlight clips indicate that he has more willingness to take risks with the Football. I’m more than ok with it, so long as he can be coached properly on when to take them.

I like the fact that Darnold is willing to make some risks to make plays. Based off the highlight clip he can do it with his legs as well. He’s certainly not Michael Vick, but he can improvise with his legs when needed.

As mentioned in previous posts it’s going to come down to which one isn’t a Nancy boy. Who’s willing to accept the challenge of joining the Cleveland Browns. So far, Darnold is the leader in that regard:

So I sit here on January 4th and am telling you that Sam Darnold will likely be picked 1st overall in April. I’m not exactly thrilled, but I still have some hope. Unfortunately, the only quarterback that’s really intrigues me is Baker Mayfield.

He presents the most upside out of any quarterback out there. He’s got the swagger, drive, and ability to lead a team on Sunday’s. There are obviously off the field concerns, but I generally feel like he wants it more on the field than the QB he’s most compared to, Johnny Manziel.

The Rose Bowl was telling in a negative way for Mayfield. He had his Sooners up 31-17 at the half. They ended up losing the game 54-48. I thought it would be a game where Mayfield would go out, and take a win from Georgia. It never happened. Suspect play-calling was an issue, but Mayfield seemed to wilt. It was a concerning game for him.

Still a long way to go, but again it just seems inevitable Darnold will be the guy. The Browns have some options, as they pick 4th overall as well.

Oh I can certainly fuck with that.

Josh Rosen & Sam Darnold Both Declare for the NFL Draft

The California QBs that were touted as top picks before the season have both officially made their statements and declared for the draft within 1 hour of each other. Rosen, the UCLA product, made his statement on twitter first — followed up by USC’s QB Darnold doing the same but on Instagram.

There obviously was talk of both of them not wanting to go to the Browns because of the state of the franchise and I’m not going to get in depth in their abilities because Danny did so here. However, these two were selected as pre-season favorites to go early in the draft for a reason. Both slumped a little during their seasons and the records aren’t exactly eye-opening, but they both managed to have solid seasons.

If I had to choose one? And I’m sure Cleveland or the Giants will select a QB, if not both — I’m going Rosen. USC QBs never really pan out well  in the NFL(see: Leinart, Barkley, Sanchez, Kessler). I’d be shocked if the Browns went Darnold here as I feel even Josh Allen is a better prospect than him.

Either way, it is now official and the Browns are on the clock — let’s see if Rosen can be the game-changer to turn a franchise around.