Report: Sam Darnold unlikely to leave USC for NFL this year

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 21: Sam Darnold
SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 21: Sam Darnold /

USC quarterback Sam Darnold is unlikely to leave the Trojans for the NFL Draft this year, according to a report from Benjamin Allbright.

There may have been the slightest silver lining to USC’s blowout loss to Notre Dame and the Trojans’ performance in a somewhat disappointing 2017 campaign. Sam Darnold now appears less likely to leave early for the NFL.

The latest report comes from Mile High Sports radio host and NFL writer Benjamin Allbright, who says Darnold is “unlikely to leave this year,” per his source.

That’s a major turnaround from a report earlier this month from Albert Breer of MMQB saying, “I heard pretty strongly a couple weeks ago that he’s going to come out.”

It’s no surprise that those two reports followed two Trojan losses. It is interesting that the two reports contradict each other.

That’s likely because in the space between the message Breer received a couple of weeks before USC stumbled against Washington State and this new report from Allbright, it has become increasingly clear that Darnold may not be ready for the NFL stage.

Darnold has accounted for 15 turnovers this year, between 10 interceptions and five lost fumbles. That’s more turnovers than 107 out of 130 FBS schools have committed in total. (H/T David Woods of Scout)

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Some of those turnovers early in the season were the fault of Darnold’s new receiving corps, but in the last month the likes of Deontay Burnett, Steven Mitchell and Tyler Vaughns have emerged as more-than-capable receiving targets, yet the turnovers have continued.

So has erratic accuracy from the quarterback, who has apparently been dealing with an ankle injury for a month.

The signs of Darnold’s exceptionalism remain. He has made plays for the Trojans in key moments and still appears, in moments, capable of living up to the high expectations that have surrounded him. However, inconsistency has held him back.

Another year at USC to develop and refine his skills could serve him well, especially since he is unlikely to land at an NFL franchise where he will be allowed to ease into action without major pressure on his shoulders to deliver right away.

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Of course, as Zach Helfand of the LA Times put it, Darnold hasn’t made the decision yet anyways.

Either Breer or Allbright may ultimately be proven right, but with four regular season games remaining and perhaps another two contests after that, there is still a lot of time for Darnold to sit down and make his decision with the whole picture in front of him.