Draft Prospect Outlook:
More often than not, he plays well beyond his years mentally when reading coverages and when making anticipation throws at all levels of the field. Arm strength is fine. Good scrambling ability. and even better throw-on-the-run-skills. Footwork is sporadic. Accuracy is mainly spot-on. Effective eluding pressure but gets antsy when blocking is leaky. Owns awkward, elongated release.
Darnold, a former 247Sports Composite four-star recruit that was overlooked in the recruiting process, took USC and college football by storm as redshirt sophomore, leading the Trojans to nine consecutive wins and a comeback in the Rose Bowl. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound QB took over for Max Browne after a 1-2 start, going 9-1 down the stretch thanks to his athleticism and creativity. He became a Heisman favorite, finishing with 3,086 yards and 31 TDs. Darnold was named the Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year, won the Archie Griffin Award and touted as the No. 1 overall NFL Draft pick for 2018.
But the 2017 season wasn’t the Heisman-worthy year many had pegged for Darnold in the preseason. He struggled behind a new offensive line and young WRs to go with his worsening turnover issues. His 22 total turnovers were as many as 101 FBS teams. But he still led the Trojans to their first Pac-12 title since 2008, named first team All-Pac-12 and became the first USC QB to throw for more than 4,000 yards (4,143 yards, 26 TDs). - Chris Trevino, USCFootball.com