Sam Darnold says he won’t stay at USC just to avoid Browns

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Before the start of the 2017 season, USC quarterback Sam Darnold said that no team should tank in order to get the top pick and guarantee themselves a chance to draft him next April.

It doesn’t appear any team has done that, which would have been a dicey proposition for reasons that include Darnold’s remaining eligibility at the NCAA level. Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com touched on that in a radio interview early this month when he reported that Darnold was expected to wait to make a decision until he knew which teams would be picking at the top of the draft.

The Browns’ 0-11 record has them on the inside track for the first overall pick and Breer said Darnold could stay in L.A. if that’s how things play out. On Monday, Darnold denied he wants to avoid Cleveland.

“I didn’t say anything about the Browns,” Darnold said, via the Orange County Register. “I’ve never said anything bad about a team. They know I would never say anything.”

There are plenty of reasons why Darnold might opt to stay at USC for a third season as the school’s starting quarterback. If the Browns do have the first overall pick and he makes that choice, there will be plenty of people connecting the dots regardless of how Darnold explains his decision.

43 responses to “Sam Darnold says he won’t stay at USC just to avoid Browns

  1. He ought to stay in school, avoid the Browns, and avoid leaving early in order not to turn into the next Mark Sanchez.

  2. This stuff used to bother me, but I can’t blame him at all. Guarantee he won’t be the only one avoiding the Browns, including scouts, coaches, managers, etc. which is why Hillbilly Jim’s only recourse is to promote from within or sell the team. This Browns fan prefers the latter.

  3. Remember this when reading all the comments about Darnold throwing too many interceptions: His coaching staff is running a spread option offense as if USC were some inferior team trying to out gimmick other teams. If USC was taking advantage of it’s superior personnel and employing a power run, play action offense Darnold would have much fewer interceptions.

  4. In order to avoid the Browns, he’d have to stay in school to earn a masters degree. It would take that long. Darnold shouldn’t be picked first in this draft in any case. Too many question marks on him.

  5. And so what would he do the following year when the Browns once again have the #1 overall pick? Cost himself millions more in missed NFL seasons?

    Play worse and hope to not get picked #1 overall?

  6. Don’t worry Sam, if you’re an actual good quarterback, the Browns will trade the pick away and take the QB they want to ruin in a later round.

  7. 32 NFL teams, more than plenty college QBs to pick from. If you think that going to the Browns will be a disaster then you are a mediocre QB. Why not have the mentality to be the person that turn the franchise around?

  8. “If USC was taking advantage of it’s superior personnel and employing a power run, play action offense Darnold would have much fewer interceptions.”

    OU runs a spread offense, so where are all of Baker’s INTs?

  9. floriosnuts says:

    November 28, 2017 at 10:56 am

    Sam should. High draft picks go to Cleveland to die. Problem is that he may have to sta in school til he’s 30 to avoid the Browns.
    —————————————————————————-
    Not true. They drafted old man Brandon Weeden and got the same results out of him as they do with the young qbs.

  10. floriosnuts says:
    November 28, 2017 at 10:56 am
    Sam should. High draft picks go to Cleveland to die. Problem is that he may have to sta in school til he’s 30 to avoid the Browns.

    —-

    You mean like top pick Myles Garrett? 5 sacks in 6 games? On a defense that until last week ranked top 10 against the run? Yes, he sure looks like he is dying.

    It is possible the problem isn’t that picks go there to die, it’s that the previous regimes picks shouldn’t have been picked that high. Please note “previous regime’s picks”. Mingo isn’t thriving anywhere, neither is Manziel or Gilbert. That isn’t a Browns problem that is a player problem.

    Brain trust strikes again.

  11. I get tired of hearing about things like this. News flash: the Patriots or the Eagles or the Steelers are not going to be picking #1. Refusing to play for a bad team is loser mentality. If Darnold did stay in college because he didn’t want to play for a bad NFL team, if I were the GM of the other 31 remaining teams, I would avoid him like the plague.

  12. No need to, the Browns will likely waste their #1 pick on a pass rusher or a safety who returns punts and kickoffs.

  13. There is no guarantee that Darnold would be the 1st pick in the draft to begin with. And yes, if he DID want to wait out the Browns not having the first or second overall pick, he would likely be waiting a long time.

  14. Remember when that other USC quarterback decided to stay in school another year?

    You may remember him. He went from being a probable top 5 pick to 4th rounder the following season.

    Matt Barkley is his name.

  15. Michael LaRocca, Technical Editor says:
    November 28, 2017 at 11:21 am

    I’d join the French Foreign Legion to avoid the Browns.
    —————————————————————————————————
    This is awesome!

  16. Heisenberg says:
    November 28, 2017 at 11:21 am
    I get tired of hearing about things like this. News flash: the Patriots or the Eagles or the Steelers are not going to be picking #1. Refusing to play for a bad team is loser mentality. If Darnold did stay in college because he didn’t want to play for a bad NFL team, if I were the GM of the other 31 remaining teams, I would avoid him like the plague.
    ==================================

    Nah, it’s smart. It’s not as if it hasn’t been done before when player acted to avoid going to certain teams: Elway and Eli Manning come to mind. The Browns under crook Haslam are a hot mess, and it would be wise to avoid them like the plague if you’re a QB.

    That said, teams ought to avoid QBs from USC, Florida, Florida St, and Miami.

  17. It makes financial sense to come out because if he gets hurt in 2018 and has a bad year and isn’t a 1st round pick he’ll make far less money his first 4 years, plus he may not make it in the NFL.

    The Browns have so many picks in 2018 that with a decent QB they should be close to 500.

  18. cardinealsfan20 says:
    November 28, 2017 at 10:52 am
    Remember this when reading all the comments about Darnold throwing too many interceptions: His coaching staff is running a spread option offense as if USC were some inferior team trying to out gimmick other teams. If USC was taking advantage of it’s superior personnel and employing a power run, play action offense Darnold would have much fewer interceptions.
    ———

    True. That’s why all quarterbacks in spread offenses throw lots of interceptions. Wait. They don’t?

  19. I am not impressed with Darnold or Rosen. And Luke Falk is terrible. It still would’t shock me if the Browns trade or find a QB from another team and pick a behemoth left tackle to replace Joe Thomas. And forget McCarron from Cicy. Garoppolo will not receive the franchise tag, and he could still be in the Browns’ plans or a stunning return to New England. Were I to pick, I would take Baker Mayfield whose testosterone levels surely imply a gutsy, never-say-die, win-at-all-cost type player.

  20. It doesn’t matter what he does because the Browns will trade away their two top ten picks for seventeen more picks which they will then use on a punter, kicker, a QB from the Guelph Gryphons, a dead guy, a top ten rated draft pick who decides to become a dentist, a former Australian Rules baller, some avocado toast, a cheerleader, three winter tires, a mascot, and Johnny Manziel’s dealer.

    Because that’s how they roll.

  21. I can’t guarantee Darnold will be the number one pick. There is a lot of time between now and the draft. Lots of evaluating to do. At this time last year, Wentz wasn’t supposed to go in round one. Once the Nfl regular season is over, the coaches and GM’s will start taking a closer look. Right now, everyone is just guessing.

  22. Don’t worry. The Browns will trade down, convinced they are outsmarting every other team, and that more draft picks are somehow better than a competent QB.

  23. Starting to believe there’s psychological warfare going on between college players coming out to go into the NFL. Any little dirt they can find on other players in the same position, their camps are going to get it out, to help their own draft stock rise. A kids payday depends on where he is drafted, so if Josh Rosen’s camp gets a rumor going somehow, saying that Darnold doesn’t want to go to Cleveland, then all of a sudden Rosen becomes a serious contender for the 1st overall pick. Just something to think about.

  24. If I’m a top-flight QB, then I want to take on the challenge of turning around a low-achieving team — think Marcus Mariota to the Titans, who, like Cam Newton to the Panthers, are now well on their way to becoming annual playoff contenders.

  25. Browns have Houston’s 1st rounder as well, so they’ll have 2 very high picks.
    I figure they’ll go for a punter and a long snapper, both of whom will elect to go to graduate school

  26. Heisenberg says:
    November 28, 2017 at 11:21 am
    I get tired of hearing about things like this. News flash: the Patriots or the Eagles or the Steelers are not going to be picking #1. Refusing to play for a bad team is loser mentality.

    **********************************************************************

    Totally agree — refusing to play for a bad team is generally self-centered and childish.

    That said, when the “bad team” in question has a strong, prolific history of drafting QBs that ultimately bomb (presumably in large part because of poorly planned and executed QB development) and has significant management/coaching stability concerns looming over it, it’s a different issue because of its implications on the guy’s entire career. Darnold’s going the diplomatic/mature route publicly, but you couldn’t really blame him if he secretly hopes anyone else drafts him.

  27. Darnold doesn’t have to worry. If he is the best QB available, or even one of the top 5 QBs available, Cleveland won’t draft him.

  28. #1, I doubt he’d be the first QB on the Browns board anyway, and #2, the Browns can get him next year if they want him because of all the picks they have in the bank. The kid is stupid if he stays to avoid the Browns, because he can’t.

  29. @ charliecharger

    I’ve wondered about the psychological warfare thing for a while when it comes to the NFL draft. Draft position is everything when it comes to getting paid. Look at Laremy Tunsil coming out of Ole Miss. Caleb Brantley coming out of Florida. Gareon Conley coming out of Ohio State. All and any incidents pertaining to the aforementioned players came out around the time of the draft and it totally affected their draft positions. I don’t think it’s just NFL teams doing their due diligence on background checks for the players coming out, but other players and their agents, finding whatever little nuggets they can on other players to knock them down a peg, and help themselves out by showing they are a safer pick.

    Its dog eats dog competitive and that is why I am not surprised to hear Darnold say he didn’t make the comments about the Browns because the Browns hold the 1st overall pick in the draft and that is a lot of guaranteed money and bragging rights tied to being picked in that position.

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