football Edit

Take Two: Has Darnold convinced Browns to take him No. 1?

CLASS OF 2019 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position | Team

Sam Darnold
Sam Darnold (AP Images)

Take Two returns with a daily offering tackling a handful of issues in the college football landscape. National Recruiting Analyst Adam Gorney lays out the situation and then receives takes from National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell and a local expert from the network of team sites.

MORE TAKE TWO: Can Oklahoma regain pair of five-star commits?


Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam was in the stands. General manager John Dorsey, coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley watched from the sidelines.

And there was USC quarterback Sam Darnold throwing in the rain at his pro day last week as he tries to prove he should be the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft.

Saying all the right things about not wanting to move up his pro day schedule so his receivers could be seen during their workouts as well, and putting together an impressive performance after not throwing at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, did Darnold secure the top pick in next month’s draft?

All kinds of scenarios are still in play with Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen also having a strong pro day and also considered by many to be worthy of the top pick. Quarterbacks Josh Rosen and Baker Mayfield could go that high as well. Or Cleveland could pick Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, possibly a generational talent, No. 1 overall. The Browns also have the fourth pick.

Cleveland absolutely has serious interest in Darnold or the Browns wouldn’t have sent so many representatives to Los Angeles to watch him throw in bad weather. Did Darnold do enough to convince the Browns he should be first off the board and that he’s the franchise quarterback they’ve been waiting for?


“Darnold solidified himself as the No. 1 quarterback in the draft after his pro day. He was already the clear pick for the top spot heading into that performance and then he shined on the field. He did as well as could possibly be expected. I also think the fact that he did a lot of it in the rain also helped him a lot.

“The Browns are making the smartest move if they take Darnold. That franchise rarely has a top quarterback. Bernie Kosar was probably the last one and his last season with the team was in 1993. Because of that, the Browns have to take a quarterback. If I were advising the Browns, I would even tell them to seriously consider taking two quarterbacks in the top four. Quarterback play is probably the biggest reason the Browns have been so bad for so long. That franchise has to get this right to have a chance to turn things around.

“Is Darnold the best quarterback to pick at the top spot? Yes. I like Rosen a lot as well and wouldn’t have an issue if he was the top quarterback taken. That won’t happen. It feels like it’ll definitely be Darnold, but those two are both so talented that either is a smart pick. I don’t there’s another quarterback that even comes close to comparing with them in this draft.

"The Browns are making a smart move as long as they take either one of those two. It looks like they’re taking Darnold and I like it.”


“Both Darnold and Allen looked really good. Again, it’s routes on air and I worry about Darnold’s fumbles and turnovers and Allen’s lack of success against Power Five teams, but they both looked really good.

“One of them is going first overall and the other one is going top four. Their pro days cemented their status. Is it a mistake? I’m not sold on either of them despite how good they looked throwing against nobody. They really sort of cemented themselves in the top four based on their pro days.”