The 49ers signed Sam Darnold to give themselves another option at quarterback with Brock Purdy‘s status unclear after his elbow surgery.
Earlier this week at the annual league meeting, head coach Kyle Shanahan said Darnold “has as good of a skillset as there is.”
“That’s why he went as the third pick in the draft,” Shanahan said in Arizona. “When you study his play, you can see it too. I don’t think he’s always been in the best situations, which is tough for quarterbacks. It’s tough for all players, but it is one position, and it depends on the other 10 guys around you, too.
“And I think Sam has played and done some really good things in this league, but hasn’t won a ton of games and been thrown in some situations where you’re going to keep both teams in the game because you got to keep slinging that ball and give your team a chance to win. And so, you don’t always have the best stats, but you see the ability. And he’s always had that ability since his first year in college when we started watching him, and there’s no reason he can’t do it.”
Darnold has gained plenty of experience since the Jets selected him at No. 3 overall back in 2018. But he hasn’t had much success. His career completion rate is 59.7 percent and he’s thrown for 61 touchdowns with 55 interceptions. He’s also fumbled 35 times, losing 13 of them.
But Darnold did help the Panthers to a 4-2 record in the club’s last six games last season. He completed 58.6 percent of his passes for 1,143 yards with seven touchdowns and three interceptions with two lost fumbles.
“I’m excited to get to know him as a person because I’ve always liked him as an athlete, I’ve always liked him as a prospect,” Shanahan said. “I like how he throws. I like his athletic ability. Now, we’re excited to get him with us, get to work, and see how he plays in our offense.”