Darnold has an average NFL arm. Nevertheless, he can make necessary NFL throws and hit receivers in tight coverage.
Short Accuracy (1-10 yds)
Sam Darnold is an excellent distributor in the short range of the field. Darnold's ball placement enabled receivers like Chris Hogan excellent opportunities to pick up yards after the catch. However, Darnold also tends to throw errant misses when his feet aren't set.
Imtermediate Accuracy (10-20 yds)
Sam Darnold is a natural gunslinger who looks to take advantage of open receivers down the field. He's usually on the money when he rolls outside the pocket, but when he misses, it's usually a horrible whiff.
Long Accuracy (20+ yds)
Darnold created a plethora of big-time throws deep down the field in 2020. However, his inability to recognize defenders in the passing lane coupled with mechanical issues prevented him from being a prolific passer.
Sam Darnold has an impeccable pocket presence. Darnold is a poised passer with decent footwork and escapability. Despite having one of the worst OL's in football, Darnold stayed strong in the pocket while keeping his eyes downfield. He needs to work on not bailing too early, but this was a minor concern.
Sam Darnold is deadly accurate when throwing on the run. His ability to locate open guys and hit them in stride consistently help him move the chains, especially on late downs. In fact, most of Darnold's 2020 season was spent ad-libbing under duress.
Coming from USC, Darnold was underrated for his inability to go through his progressions. However, last season, he showed significant improvement. Darnold was a decisive passer in Gase's West Coast system, which regularly hit the open wideout with a good pass. He still needs to move his eyes more and work off his first read. However, these are minor concerns compared to QBs like Daniel Jones and Carson Wentz.
Sam Darnold needs a coordinator who can completely revamp his mechanics. Surprisingly, no coach has fixed the awkward hitch in his throwing motion. Moreover, years of suffering pressure has caused Sam to frequently throw off balance, even when there is no pressure.
Darnold has an extensive injury history, including shoulder sprains, foot sprains, ankle sprains, and mono.
Teammates and media have praised Sam Darnold for his leadership. There seem to be no red flags, which is impressive considering how dysfunctional the Jets are.
Sam Darnold is an effective QB on late downs due to his ability to extend plays and find open receivers. However, he is too much a gunslinger to be considered a gunslinger. In fact, his tendency to miss defenders in coverage is often a drive killer.
Sam Darnold is an average decision-maker. For a natural gunslinger, Darnold usually chooses to hit the open wideout. However, he tends to make terrible decisions with the game on the line. For instance, Darnold threw a horrific pass that got picked off in Week 17 against the Patriots. Then, Sam followed that up with a later INT in the red zone, where he failed to recognize double coverage. Given that this issue dates back to college, his coaches should expect it to continue.
Sam Darnold has a good QB frame standing at 6'3", 225 lbs.
Darnold has deceptive speed. His 4.85 speed helps him beat DL to the outside and find open receivers on the run.
Sam Darnold's avid supporters are right about the former Trojan's play-making ability. When on the run and looking down the field, only a few QBs can make the impressive throws that Darnold completes. He's not a considerable threat rushing the ball. Still, he is a threat when he escapes the pocket.
Unfortunately, Sam Darnold's productivity has been sullied by lousy coaching, a horrible supporting cast, and tons of injuries. His best statistical season came in 2019 when he threw for 3,024 yards, 19 TDs, and completed 61.9% of his passes. However, he has not eclipsed 3,000 passing yards in his other two seasons in the NFL.
Darnold is a cerebral QB with the IT factor, poise, and leadership needed to be a solid franchise quarterback.
No off-field concerns.
Sam Darnold's career has been severely impacted by the New York Jets. In three seasons, the supporting cast and coaching have prevented Darnold from establishing any consistency in the NFL.
Despite suffering on the Jets, Sam Darnold exhibits many traits necessary to be a great NFL QB. For instance, his poise and natural feel of pressure in the pocket mitigated the Jets' issues along the offensive line. Furthermore, Darnold is an impressive improviser who can extend plays with his legs and throw accurately on the run with ease. In fact, many of Darnold's best throws came on the run. Additionally, Darnold is a gunslinger who can launch perfect dimes down the field. Sam has also improved his vision by becoming a decisive passer who regularly hits his wideout with enough space to pick up lots of YAC.
Playing on the Jets has prolonged many of Sam Darnold's issues from college. For instance, his poor mechanics lead to many errant passes that soar over the heads of his receivers. Some of his interceptions are good reads that were completely off-target because he was throwing off base. However, the majority of Darnold's turnovers result from his inability to locate cornerbacks in his passing lanes. Plus, the awkward hitch in his throwing motion needs to get tweaked eventually. Additionally, his extensive injury history is at the very least concerning.
Standing at 6'3" 225 lbs., Sam Darnold has the physical attributes, intangibles, and skill-set necessary to be a franchise QB. His pocket presence and mobility would make him a great quarterback on a better team. However, Sam Darnold needs to leave New York immediately. In three seasons on the Jets, Darnold has suffered from poor supporting casts, abysmal coaching, and his own injuries. Unfortunately, "QB guru" Adam Gase was unable to enhance Darnold's mechanics. Moreover, Gase's predictable play calling, coupled with poor game management forced Darnold to take too many risks while ad libbing. Nevertheless, offensive coordinators should be impressed that Darnold improved his progressions by quickly hitting open wideouts. Therefore, he would fit in a West Coast or Air Coryell offensive scheme with receivers who can get open quickly.