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Latest News : Sam Darnold impresses Troy Aikman at USC's rain-soaked Professional Day
The NFL scouts, coaches and workforce executives had been there, however that is true for any high-profile Professional Day. However there was another person standing on the sideline at USC’s Cromwell Area on Wednesday, finding out Sam Darnold’s each spiral. Corridor of Fame quarterback and Fox commentator Troy Aikman watched the rain-soaked exercise from underneath an umbrella.
Aikman, the previous No. 1 total decide from UCLA, hadn’t set foot on USC’s campus in 30 years, not since he and Trojans quarterback Rodney Peete participated in a photograph shoot earlier than the 1988 season.
However that is the attract of Darnold, the favourite to go first on this yr’s draft to the Cleveland Browns. That workforce was out in power for this professional day, with not solely the coach, offensive coordinator, and quarterbacks coach on campus, but additionally Browns proprietor Jimmy Haslam, who watched from the stands.
Cleveland’s climate confirmed up, too, with heavy drops turning to a downpour, and an unfazed Darnold nonetheless zipping throws to his receivers. He simply regarded like a child having enjoyable, soaked in his long-sleeve grey T-shirt and matching ball cap.
Aikman, for one, was impressed.
“I do not suppose I might have been taken first if it rained on my professional day,” the three-time Tremendous Bowl winner stated. “I could not throw a moist ball. Possibly it was one thing that I struggled with greater than something. However I believed he had a extremely good exercise.”
UCLA’s Josh Rosen and Wyoming’s Josh Allen aren’t prone to wait lengthy to listen to their names known as, both, particularly with all of the quarterback-needy groups on the high of the draft. The primary 5 picks go to Cleveland, New York Giants, New York Jets (due to a commerce with Indianapolis), Cleveland once more, and Denver. Even with the stopgap veterans they’ve signed, all these groups stay out there for quarterbacks.
This yr is anticipated to mark the second time that USC and UCLA quarterbacks have been chosen in the identical draft. The primary was 1989, when Aikman went No. 1 to Dallas, and Peete went within the sixth spherical to Detroit.
Operating the exercise for Darnold was Jordan Palmer, whose brother, Carson, was USC’s solely quarterback taken No. 1 total, the highest decide by Cincinnati in 2003. The best way Jordan Palmer sees it, the similarities between his brother and the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Darnold are placing.
“I might say he has 20 p.c much less arm expertise than Carson had at the moment – and that is not an indictment as a result of lots of people have advised me that Carson could be the No. 1 decide in any draft,” Jordan stated. “However I feel he is acquired not less than 20 p.c extra athleticism than Carson at this age. He will play 15 years and win a bunch of video games.”
There is a good likelihood Darnold gained over some skeptics Wednesday with the way in which he dealt with the awful, moist circumstances. Bear in mind, it was in a rain storm at a personal exercise in Berkeley that the Rams fell in love with quarterback Jared Goff, who they chose first total in 2016.
“Certainly one of my first soccer experiences was taking part in mud soccer within the rain,” Darnold stated. “It was cool to return out right here and throw one final time with the blokes who I have been throwing with the final 4 years right here. To have the ability to throw within the rain and hard circumstances was superior.”
As was the case with Rosen at UCLA final week, Darnold was at heart stage, however there have been loads of different NFL hopefuls on show. Operating again Ronald Jones, defensive finish Rasheem Inexperienced and edge rusher Uchenna Nwosu did particular person drills; receiver Steven Mitchell and security Chris Hawkins participated in all the things, together with bench press and 40-yard sprint. Receiver Deontay Burnett, who plans to have personal exercises for groups, didn’t take part in any drills or working.
Whereas there’s miles of tape on Darnold, there’s not a lot footage of him throwing within the rain earlier than Wednesday. His solely true rain sport at USC got here in 2016 at dwelling in opposition to Notre Dame, a 45-27 victory by the Trojans wherein he accomplished 19 of 29 for 205 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. There was rain earlier than kickoff of a sport at Washington that yr, however it stopped earlier than kickoff.
Darnold’s first profession begin was at Utah, and it was anticipated to pour. There was solely mild rain within the first and third quarters of that sport, nonetheless, and never sufficient to qualify as an actual rain sport. It was 40 levels, although.
Wednesday, Darnold may as effectively have been standing on the shores of Lake Erie.
“Everyone knows he can throw it in 75-degree climate and palm timber,” Palmer stated. “So I believed this was nice, an ideal day for him to get on the market and… act prefer it is not raining, no huge deal. That is how he’s on tape, how he’s within the locker room. I believed it was a terrific exhibiting for him.”
Turnovers stay a priority for Darnold. He had 11 fumbles final season – tied for second-most in Division I soccer – and 20 up to now two years. He had 13 interceptions final season, and 9 in 2016.
He had a dialog lately with Invoice Parcells wherein the legendary coach suggested him to all the time “get again within the huddle,” to shortly put errors behind him and maintain urgent ahead.
Darnold’s private coach has reminded him of that incessantly.
“Whenever you’re the very best participant within the nation, or perceived to be the very best participant, you get extra freedom to do issues within the offense – test to this, run round and make that play occur,” Palmer stated. “However the counter to that’s once you’re 20 or 19, that can be an issue. You may get too artistic. You may get too aggressive, too aggressive.
“I can assure you proper now, he’s going to throw a decide within the NFL, he’ll lose a sport within the NFL. He will play lengthy sufficient to do it rather a lot. However he is additionally going to get again within the huddle.”
(c)2018 the Los Angeles Instances/Distributed by Tribune Content material Company, LLC.
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