A couple of days ago I saw a report which indicated that sources close to USC star QB Sam Darnold had hinted that he may well stay in school to continue his education past the 2017 season, putting plans for his role as saviour in doubt.
This is one aspect of the NFL draft that you just can't predict. I'll be honest and say that Sam Darnold is the best QB I've seen since Andrew Luck, and everything you hear about him leaves you with the impression that he's going to be an absolute star. It's not just his on-field performance, but his off-field appetite too. Listen to all his coaches and you'll hear them wax poetic about his intelligence.
Recently I've been reading the Bruce Arians book titled The Quarterback Whisperer. It's a book that documents his work with the likes of Andrew Luck, Carson Palmer, Big Ben and of course Peyton Manning. Although it goes into a lot of detail, here are the characteristics that I noted down:
Multi-Sport Athlete in High School
Now that's a very simplistic look, but everything needs to start with a template. That had be thinking about Darnold and although we only have one year of tape to go on. I think he ticks every single box there, even down to being a two-sport athlete in high school.
The 2018 draft isn't a single QB draft, there are many others who may be worth the number one overall pick. However after my initial valuation, I see Darnold as the player you'd want sitting there when you walked up to the podium. I imagine his future will be one of the most talked about subjects throughout the 2017 season, but with a guy like Sam, I wouldn't be overly surprised to see him return to school. It's actually a lot like the Luck situation, following his 2010 season many expected him to declare for the 2011 draft and many expected him to go number one overall. He returned to school for his Junior year instead and ended up going number one overall in the 2012 NFL draft.
Wouldn't it be the Jets luck, to have to sit through a season which results in the first pick in the draft, only to have a prospect like Sam Darnold return to school. That's what the NFL is all about though, you can't predict the future.